Aberavon completed the league double over Newport last season including a 40-19 drubbing at the Talbot Athletic Grounds. However Newport still lead the overall head-to-head with 17 wins to the Wizards 11 in the 28 league matches played to date.
But Cronk has been pleased with pre-season preparations which included a good performance at English Championship side Cornish Pirates last Saturday.
"I was particularly pleased with the performance of the pack and said it was a match they could and should have won," he said.
"Things bode well for the future but the trip to Aberavon will be a big test."
Last season's captain Andrew Brown will lead the side in the absence of prop Gethin Robinson while the 23 man squad also includes seven players signed from Pontypool RFC during the close season.
Aberavon will be without wing Richard Carter, the highest-ever try scorer in the Principality Premiership, who has broken an arm, while Nathan Strong awaits an operation and scrum half Dan Davies recovers from broken ankle.
However, they do half a fine half-back pairing in Jamie Davies, the highest-ever points score in league history, and the new vice-captain, David Pritchard.
Liam Gadd returns from honeymoon to join Ben John, the former Wales under-20 player, at centre with John appearing in his first league match since last November.
League debuts go to Wales Under-18 Development squad flanker Joe Tomalin-Reeves and hooker Ieuan Davies while the replacements include Stefan Andrews from Tonmawr, who can cover several back positions.
Newport XV against Aberavon:
15 G O'Driscoll 14 E Frewen 13 D Robinson 12 A Davies 11 A Awcock 10 S Sneddon 9 J Leadbeater 8 C Everett 7 C Attwell 6 S Waldron 5 A Frampton 4 R Jones 3 J Jones 2 A Brown (c) 1 D Pattison.
Replacements: R Prosser, A Jeffries, D Rosser, I Jones, T Hancock, W Richards, R Downes, J Lavender.
Aberavon XV against Newport:
15 Jonathan Phillips 14 Ricky Thomas 13 Ben John 12 Liam Gadd 11 Richard Thomas 10 Jamie Davies 9 David Pritchard 8 Ben Thomas 7 Joe Tomalin-Reeves 6 Chris Davies 5 Sam Williams (c) 4 Ian Moore 3 Andrew Clatworthy 2 Ieuan Davies 1 Rowan Jenkins.
Replacements: Gareth Harvey, Andrew Edwards, Chris John, Gavin Ronan, Richard Morris, Craig Evans, Paul Bamsey, Stefan Andrews.
Referee: Neil Hennessy