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Ben Cross to return for Vikings' final home game in last hurrah
BIG Ben Cross is set to for a return to action in Vikings’ last home game of the season on Sunday – giving him the chance to take a curtain call before his retirement at the end of the season.
The powerful former Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle and New South Wales State of Origin front rower has missed a large chunk of the summer with injury – one of the reasons he cited for calling time on his eventful career.
But at least it now looks like he will get an opportunity to bow out in style – and in front of the home supporters against Hull KR.
That is not the only good news on the injury front, with coach Denis Betts revealing that long-term casualty Lloyd White is also a possibility and Gareth Hock is available again after missing the win over Warrington.
He said: “From the last game Jon Clarke is available and we will see how Lloyd White trains this week and he could be in the mix.
“And hopefully we will see Ben Cross for our last home game of the season – this is a chance for him to get back into the side before he retires at the end of the year.
“We are really skinny squad wise – Dave Allen hurt himself against Warrington and is still on the treatment table – we are running with about 19 or 20 fit blokes.
“But Gaz Hock is available – he was willing to play against Warrington and put his hand up, but the physio’s advice to me was that there was a possibility that he could have torn his calf.”
Vikings’ forwards will have their work cut out against Hull KR - one of the toughest, most physical packs in the competition.
That pack has paved the way for a top eight finish this term, with the Robins still gunning for a home berth that would go with sixth spot. Betts said: “Hull KR are going well – and were impressive in their last win at Leeds.
“Michael Dobson is excellent and Craig Hall is a very good, massively underrated player and they have a really good solid group that has stuck together this year.
“They are thinking about where they are going to finish, but so are we.”
Cross’ departure at the end of the year leaves a hole that Betts knows the club must fill.
He has a list of recruitment priorities.
“I know we need another front rower to support Eamon O’Carroll and Ben Kavanagh, and having secured Danny Tickle I’d like another back rower and also another forward.
“We know what we are doing – it is about adding quality in there not about wholesale change,” he said.
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