The NSW Rugby League Women’s side will learn from one of the sport’s most experienced players, with former NRL veteran Ben Cross signing on as Head Coach for 2016.
Cross, a True Blue following two Origin appearances in 2008, played a total of eight seasons for Canberra, Melbourne and Newcastle, before joining the English Super League from 2011-2013.
The former front-rower, the Knights’ Intrust Super Premiership NSW assistant coach across 2014 and 2015, said being appointed to lead the state’s most promising females was an incredible honour.
“I’m a little bit surprised actually. I spoke with (NSWRL Performance Programs Manager) Jamie Feeney, a former team-mate of mine, about the possibility of doing something with the NSWRL and he said the position of Women’s coach had come up – I jumped at the chance,” Cross said.
“I’m privileged to be in this position, to be coaching some great athletes.
“Regardless of whether it’s women’s, men’s, Intrust Super Premiership, Hunter Sports High... coaching is coaching.
“I want to pass on my knowledge from the things I’ve learned and for the players to get the best out of themselves.”
Cross, who is also the owner/operator of his own lifestyle fitness business, said he was pleased by what he has seen from the NSW women in their early hit-outs in 2016, in the lead-up to the Interstate Challenge match against Queensland later this year.
“The girls’ attention to detail, they picked up on everything really quickly and implemented it straight away. They don’t think they know everything straight away, which is really refreshing,” Cross said.
“It’s a great honour to be coaching them and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
Cross takes over from former NSW Women’s Head Coach Mathew Head, who was recently appointed as the St George Illawarra Dragons’ Holden Cup mentor – and he is desperate to wrestle control away from Queensland who have dominated the rivalry over the past decade.
“I watched last year’s game and they missed four or five good opportunities to score and win the game," Cross said.
"I know Queensland have the wood on us a little bit but you can see the NSW girls really getting under the skin of the Queenslanders in that last game which ended in a 4-all draw. The gap’s definitely closing and if the girls can fulfil their potential individually that’ll give us a good chance to win it."