Code Cross pays off with Wallabies spot - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Code Cross pays off with Wallabies spot

By Darren Walton 11/06/2008 11:17:12 PM Comments (0)

For once, Ryan Cross isn't feeling envious about missing out on playing State of Origin.

After almost a decade of wretched luck and misfortune, the talented Cross finally achieved major representative selection with a place on the Wallabies bench for Saturday night's Lansdowne Cup rugby Test against Ireland at Melbourne's Telstra Dome.

The long overdue recognition vindicates Cross's decision to switch codes again last season and also makes up for injuries denying the classy centre the chance to ever play Origin or Test football during his nine-year professional rugby league career.

"That was the main reason I came across, to hopefully get a berth in the Wallabies and this is sort of a dream that's come true after a long hard road for sure," Cross said.

"Coming across last year was a big move and I struggled a bit last year. This year, I've really felt confident in what I've been doing and I suppose I feel like I've earned my spot here and I can't wait."

Cross appeared destined for higher honours from the moment he scored two tries on debut for the Sydney Roosters against Manly in 1998.

But after playing in the Roosters' first grand final in a quarter of a century - the 14-6 loss to Brisbane in 2000 - Cross's league career was littered with disappointments.

Two broken legs sidelined him for the bulk of the 2001 and 2002 seasons, including the Roosters' drought-breaking premiership triumph in '02 over the New Zealand Warriors.

When he finally regained full fitness, Cross played in two more grand final defeats for the Roosters in 2003-04 before joining the Western Force at the start of 2007.

The 28-year-old admitted he thought grand final victories and Kangaroos or Wallabies selection might never come his way.

"I've definitely had doubts that it never would happen," he said.

"I played in three grand finals that we lost, but missed the one we won and a few injuries cost me and I was put in the back of the line, never quite made it.

"But I'm glad I stuck at it and I've got the reward. I've worked pretty hard and stuck with it and I suppose it just makes it all the more sweeter."

Cross says he feels right at home again after playing Australian schoolboys rugby in 1997 with new Wallabies teammates George Smith, Phil Waugh and Adam Freier.

"Plus I played a bit with Lote Tuqiri in the Junior Kangaroos," he said.

"So I've played with a few of them, which is nice to reunite 10 years later."

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