Crocker signs for Storm

Melbourne Storm has made its first new signing for the 2006 season with the acquisition of tough Sydney Roosters back-rower Michael Crocker.

Crocker, 25, has been a key member of the Roosters team in recent years, playing 86 games and competing in the past three Grand Finals, including the 2002 Premiership. He is a player of the highest calibre having represented Australia, travelled with the Kangaroos in 2003 and represented Queensland on five occasions during the 2003 and 2004 State-Of-Origin Series?.

His uncompromising nature and aggressive play has been an inspiration to his current team mates and will be a welcome addition to a talented Melbourne Storm squad. He has created a reputation throughout the NRL as one of the toughest competitors around, something the Storm has been searching for to add to their ranks.

?Michael will provide the missing link to our team in terms of his toughness and his experience at the highest level,? said Melbourne Storm manager of football operations Peter O?Sullivan.

?He?s played in three grand finals and has plenty of representative experience which will help take our team to the next level.

?He is a great personality for the club, he loves Melbourne and he can?t wait to get here to be with his family and forge a career with the Melbourne Storm.?

Crocker is excited about the opportunity of playing with good friends and people he has a high regard for.

?Considering all of the options, I thought the best future for me was at the Storm,? said Crocker.

?I?m really excited about joining a list that includes players such as Origin stars Billy Slater and Matt King, and my good friend Cam Smith. I can?t wait to join the boys for what should be a pretty successful period in the club?s history.

?I?m also a big admirer of (coach) Craig Bellamy. He?s done some great things with the club and I?m looking forward to joining up with him.?

Not only is Crocker an admirer of Bellamy, the coaching staff are also fans of the hard-hitting back-rower.

?It?s great news for us to have someone with Michael?s toughness joining us for the next four years,? said coach Craig Bellamy.

?For us to be able to attract an international player of Crocker?s calibre goes to show what a great club we have here and the confidence he has in our future success.?

Part of the appeal for Crocker joining the Storm was his family connections in the city. Both of his parents live in Melbourne, as well as his sister and nephew.

?A key attraction for me was obviously the chance to join my family in such a great city. My family keep telling me how much they enjoy living here and from my experiences in Melbourne, I?ve had a great time as well,? said Crocker.

Although Crocker had friendship, admiration and family as his main reasons for signing with the Storm, his manager Jim Banaghan was also thinking of his future.

?I thought the opportunity for Michael to take up a four year deal with a top eight team was too good to knock back,? said Banaghan.

?In the current climate, a club needs good coaching staff, a good back room staff and stable ownership, an environment the Storm can definitely provide.?