Cronin claims another trophy
Parramatta legend Mick Cronin claimed another trophy last weekend, as he coached the Gerringong Lions to the South Coast Group 7 first grade Premiership.
In a nail-biting finish Lions halfback Brad Davidson slotted his second field goal in golden point time to give the Lions a 14-13 win over the Warilla Gorillas in the Grand Final at Nowra Showground on 22 September.
The teams were locked together at 13-all after 80 minutes with Davidson tying the scores with just three seconds left on the clock.
The tension continued in extra time, with Warilla making two unsuccessful attempts at field goal. After these misses, Gerringong took play up to 20 metres or so from their opponents’ try line, giving Davidson the opportunity to land the winning shot.
Now 62, Cronin has taken the Lions to the last four grand finals, while he also guided the club to three other deciders during his first stint as top grade coach in the late 1980s.
In 2010, when he returned as Gerringong's first grade coach, the team won the premiership when Cronin’s son Patrick landed a late field goal in the Grand Final against the same opponents, to win 21-20 with Mick’s younger son, Peter, collecting two of his team's four tries.
This year both Cronin boys again featured in the tight win. Patrick was the playmaker and five eighth, while Peter, playing in the centres, landed two crucial conversions from wide out.
Gerringong and Warilla have now clashed in four Group 7 grand finals, with the Lions winning 9-6 in 1994, 21-20 in 2010 and 14-13 this year. Warilla turned the tables in 2011 with a memorable 36-6 victory.
Named as one of Australia's greatest 100 players in 2008, Cronin played 33 Tests for Australia and 27 matches for NSW, including six State of Origins.
He made two Kangaroo tours to England and France with the Australian team, plus one tour to New Zealand and also played in two World Series tournaments. In 10 seasons with Parramatta from 1977, Cronin scored 1,971 points in 216 first grade matches. In 1978 he tallied 543 points in all games.
His 309 points is the most by any Australian in Test match football. With Parramatta he won four premierships, while he also won two Rothmans Medals in 1977 and 1978.
Mick also won two premierships as a player with Gerringong, in 1970 and 1972, and now boasts two as a coach.
The South Coast Group 7 Rugby League are to be congratulated for their excellent organisation for the Grand Final day. Before the first grade game began, the Red Beret Parachute Display Team jumped on to Nowra Showground, while a student from Bomaderry High School gave a stirring rendition of our National Anthem. The crowd of around 6,000 was well behaved with plenty of colourful support for all teams competing on the day.
By Barry Ross
Image: Kiama Picture Co.