Ben Cross ready to bid for Blues jersey - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ben Cross ready to bid for Blues jersey

By Steve Jancetic 29/04/2008 07:55:14 PM Comments (0)

Not known for his trash talking, Country prop Ben Cross has delivered a simple message to his NSW front row rivals - he's ready to claim a Blues jersey.

While most conjecture centres on who will be the NSW halves for Origin I on May 21, Cross has claimed the front row was also wide open with Test representatives Brent Kite and Willie Mason no certainties to grab starting berths against Queensland.

Mason is sure to feature somewhere in Craig Bellamy's 17-man squad, but with his ability to play in the second row as well as up front, Cross believes as many as four openings could be available for props.

And he wants one of them.

"The guys in the Aussie team, there's no guarantee they'll be in the NSW side as well," said Cross, who will vie for time in the Country front row with former Melbourne teammate Brett White, Anthony Laffranchi and Wests Tigers workhorse Chris Heighington.

"Obviously they've got to play a few games before Origin, there's the chance of injuries or suspension - league's a cruel game like that.

"I can't really worry about anyone else and say Kitey's already there or Mason's there - I've just got to worry about Ben Cross." Kite and Mason have plenty of Origin experience, as does City prop Mark O'Meley and injured Titans co-captain Luke Bailey.

White was given a taste last year and it is believed Bellamy pushed hard for Cross to be picked in the Country side to evaluate his ability in a more intense arena.

He beat in-form St George Illawarra prop Jason Ryles for a berth, and now he's ready to make up for what was a timid rep debut against City last year.

"I was a bit uptight last year being my first rep game, I was a bit shy with the boys," Cross admitted.

"Craig used to always say he knew what he'd get out of me every week and if I can just do that in this game, a bigger game, for (Country coach) Laurie (Daley) and Craig to watch, it should help my chances.

"I don't really trash talk or talk crap ... all I've got going for me is go-forward and solid defence in the middle.

"I'm not that flashy with the ball or anything like that, I just try to do what I can do, execute my role in the team.

"Friday night I'll just put it all on the line for a Blues jersey."

Meanwhile, Daley said he would not be dictated to by NRL coaches over playing time for some of his more experienced stars.

Upset that his Knights skipper Danny Buderus was even selected in the first place, Newcastle coach Brian Smith said he was hoping Daley would give the veteran rake an easy night given he is an almost certain selection for Origin I.

Parramatta feel the same about Nathan Hindmarsh, he and Buderus both named to back up less than 24 hours after Friday night's game for their club sides this weekend.

But Daley said he wouldn't go out of his way to honour any requests from coaches.

"I'll just play them as I see them," Daley said.

"If they have to play 80, they'll play 80." St George Illawarra backrower Ben Creagh joined the squad as 18th man as cover for Andrew Ryan who is in doubt with a chronic knee injury.

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