Ryan Cross not interested in NRL return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ryan Cross not interested in NRL return

By Jim Morton 24/07/2009 05:18:32 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies league convert Ryan Cross finds himself an endangered species but says he can fully understand Timana Tahu's controversial move back to rugby league.

Cross on Friday spoke of the pressure and struggles code jumpers face dealing with "cultural differences" in rugby involving considerably more time away from family, game transition and greater scrutiny.

The powerful Test centre stands as the last high-profile convert in rugby after Tahu this week decided to follow Wendell Sailor and Mat Rogers back to the NRL.

Fellow Wallabies centre Berrick Barnes also played in the NRL before switching to the Reds but, unlike the other code-jumpers, was a mere rookie with just one NRL game under his belt.

With Lote Tuqiri's contract torn up by the Australian Rugby Union last month, the former Sydney Rooster is only too aware ex-league stars are a dying breed in the Wallabies squad.

"It's a bit like that, there's a bit of funny banter around about me being the last one and that sort of thing," Cross told AAP.

But while the 29-year-old admitted to sharing some of Tahu's frustrations, Cross is adamant he's happy and staying ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

"I think I'm happy where my league career was," said Cross.

"I spent nine years playing there and I'm happy in rugby now so I couldn't see myself going back.

"I am pretty happy, I can see where (Tahu) is coming from. It's not easy with a family and all the travel."

Cross's wife and two young daughters live in Perth where he plays for Super 14 team Western Force but he will hardly see them during Australia's Tri-Nations campaign.

Even though the Wallabies training camp broke up on Friday, he's staying on in Sydney over the weekend to play club rugby before the squad reassembles on next week and then flies to South Africa.

"I finds it very hard trying to balance my rugby and my family life because rugby has an unbelievable amount of travel," he said.

"It's definitely hard on my wife but we're trying to work it out to make it easier."

Cross revealed he'd spoken with a disenchanted Tahu about the struggles at times before his fellow centre agreed to a three-year deal with his former NRL club Parramatta.

"We would talk at training about travelling and league and the big cultural difference with being away so much."

Cross rejected the belief backs had it easy compared to forwards in making the transition from league.

"It's not easy to play anywhere," he said. "You are so used to playing rugby league there's so much scrutiny on everything you do and so much pressure to perform and it can get to you.

"I think it did to Lote and Timana and even myself coming across, it does get to you.

"Some union people don't like you coming across from league and it does make it hard that way.

"But having said that the teams are very accepting and I've really enjoyed my time in rugby."

Cross, who played 11 of Australia's 13 Tests in 2008, felt he'd been fortunate compared to Tahu in being able to settle in the one position at outside centre for the Western Force.

Tahu has battled for game time as injury and continual moves around the Waratahs backline also prevented him getting established in the code.

"He had a lot of injuries which didn't help him as well, that confidence of playing week in and week out helps you so much, it helped me," Cross said.

"I know in my first 10 games I was a bit scratchy about where to go and what to do at the rucks and mauls so I felt I've got a full handle on that now."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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