Ross to make return as Souths' captain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ross to make return as Souths' captain

By Ben Horne 13/01/2011 07:38:09 PM Comments (0)

After two years out of the NRL with a broken neck, South Sydney forward Ben Ross will make his return as Rabbitohs captain in a trial match next month.

Souths chief executive Shane Richardson admits there were times when he thought Ross should pull the curtain.

The former Queensland prop was attempting the most courageous of comebacks, but setback after setback had Richardson and many others advising Ross that maybe it was time to hang the boots up.

But after enduring multiple surgeries and the mental demons associated with putting your future health on the line, Ross can nearly taste what he has strived for.

The prop will make his inspirational return to rugby league in the Rabbitohs' opening trial against Newtown, where he will lead the Bunnies out onto their spiritual home, Redfern Oval.

Richardson said the honour of being appointed skipper is reward for the example Ross has set for the rest of the Souths squad.

"I'm sure the players have seen what he's gone through to get back on the paddock and how important it's to him. He's very excited about it and it's been a long time coming," he said.

"It signals that you should never take for granted what you've got and it'll be good for him to lead out a young side and see him get some reward for all the efforts he's put in. It'll be an emotional day for everybody."

Ross' return to full-contact rugby league will be nervously anticipated, as the club and the NRL hold their collective breath that he will come through unharmed.

Richardson concedes common sense told him Ross should give it away, but praised his player's unwavering focus.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't and we had long discussions about it. In the end we left it in his hands and our medical staff," he said.

"I said to him he'd achieved so much in the game maybe it was time to move on, but he always thought he wanted to come back and that he had good football left in him.

"He's very strong-minded Benny and he thoroughly deserves the opportunity.

"Providing the mental and physical side of it is right for him, he's going to be a great acquisition for us. We'll all be sitting there with baited breath hoping he gets through the first game and then we'll just take it week to week from there."

The Rabbitohs have stuck by Ross throughout the ordeal since he joined the club after suffering the injury in round one of the 2009 season when playing for Cronulla.

Young English forward George Burgess, the 18-year-old brother of star enforcer Sam has also been included in the 20-man squad for the trial.

"The young bull and the old bull," said Richardson of Burgess' and Ross' Souths debuts.

"It'll be one starting his career hopefully in the NRL and the other one near the end of his career, so it'll be good and it'll be a great exchange. It'll be a great day for the members."

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