Smith optimistic over Cronk injury


Queensland captain Cameron Smith is confident half-back Cooper Cronk will be fit for the State of Origin opener on Wednesday.

Cronk is battling an ankle injury suffered in training and fighting to be available for the opening game of the series against New South Wales.

However, Melbourne Storm team-mate Smith is optimistic about Cronk's chances of featuring at ANZ Stadium.

"To me, I reckon he's a chance of playing, although there's no guarantee at the moment," he told a news conference on Monday.

"He's still got a fair bit of swelling there, but I think the medical staff are fairly confident that he's a good chance of playing in the match on Wednesday.

"I think at this stage Kev [coach Kevin Walters] is thinking he'll try and give him a run tomorrow if he's able to get out and have a run.

"I know Cooper would be pretty keen to do that also, but given his experience at this level in particular and his understanding of the way we want to play and our game plan, if he's not quite right for that, I don't think we'll risk him.

"And then hopefully he'll be able to get up for Wednesday night.

"I think Kev is going to give him every chance to play, there's no doubt about that, we're just unsure whether tomorrow will be the best time to run him or not."

Smith has no doubt Cronk, a veteran of 15 Origin appearances, can perform with little preparation.

As for claims from the Blues that the Maroons are playing mind games over Cronk's injury, Smith rubbished those suggestions.

"We're fairly optimistic that he'll be there," he said.

"There's a little bit said down south that we're playing mind games - there's absolutely no mind games at all.

"He hurt himself three days ago, hasn't trained at all and we're hopeful that he'll play Wednesday."