Cross hoping for better luck at Etihad - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cross hoping for better luck at Etihad

By Jim Morton 17/06/2009 06:30:14 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies centre Ryan Cross has had more than his fair share of wretched luck in a senior football career spanning 12 seasons.

Cross has ridden the ups and downs in both league and union but one jinx the code-jumper is desperate to overcome on Saturday night is the terrible relationship he's endured with Melbourne's domed stadium.

It was at the then Colonial Stadium in 2001 Cross suffered the first of two career-stunting broken legs while playing for the Sydney Roosters against the Storm.

On his return to the ground last year when picked to make his international rugby debut, he was forced to agonisingly sit through the entire 18-12 win over Ireland on the Telstra Dome bench.

So far the name switch to Etihad Stadium has worked for Cross, with coach Robbie Deans giving him a surprise start - at No.13 - against Italy.

But the proof will be in the pudding when he runs out in rested skipper Stirling Mortlock's place at outside centre in a largely experimental backline.

"The last time here was seven or eight years ago and I was playing rugby league and unfortunately I broke my leg," he said on Wednesday. "Hopefully it will be a better experience this time."

Cross admitted the form of Australia's backline in their opening two 2009 wins over the Barbarians and Italy, and the stranglehold Mortlock has on his preferred position, had made him fear he may be consigned to the bench option.

"You do think that but I was thinking that last year as well and I ended up playing 11 of the 14 Tests and started in five so you never know with injuries and form," he said.

"So all I can do is play as well as I can and train as hard as I can and hopefully I get the chances like last year."

Cross returns after a welcome month's lay-off to rest a shoulder injury sustained in the opening Super 14 match of the season for the Western Force.

The A-C joint problem hampered him to the point he was no certainty to be retained in the extended 30-man Wallabies squad.

"I've pretty much carried it (through the Super 14)," he said. "In hindsight I should have had a few games off to start with.

"But three or four weeks off now has been good for it."

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