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Ben Cross keen to hit the ground running
12:07pm Friday 18th January 2013 in Vikings news
VIKINGS travel to The John Smith's Stadium, home of Huddersfield Giants, on Sunday (20th January) for their final pre-season outing.
Their hosts go into proceedings on the back of a 26-0 loss at St. Helens last Friday, whilst the Vikings were comfortable 30-6 winners over Workington Town. And, one player keener than most to hit the ground running at the weekend, is Vikings front-rower Ben Cross.
Having missed the final 5 rounds of 2012's Stobart Super League competition and the club's two trial games thus far, the Australian admits he is desperate to make up for lost time; "To be honest, picking up a knee injury when I did was a bit of a nuisance but having said that, it's all part of the game.
"As luck would have it, I did have a bit of help on the road to recovery as there were a few of us out injured at the time and overall, I was only sidelined for about 5 weeks. This meant that I could still have a proper off-season before returning for pre-season and I can't wait to get a game under my belt now.
"Despite being classed as a friendly, once you are out-there and into the game, things do tend to be a bit more physical than just a contested training session. Not every player or coach would admit to being a fan of these games but they are a necessary evil and offer ideal preparation for getting a lot of the little things right in your game.
"There's bound to be the occasional dropped ball and missed tackle from both teams but we will both be far better off and benefit greatly from being given an opportunity to improve our match fitness, tackle technique, running our lines correctly and getting our timing back in a game situation without the added pressure of being overly worried about winning or losing.
"Being a little bit older and wiser these days, I'm just looking forward to easing my way back into proceedings and coming through my first hit-out in good condition and hopefully everything will go OK!
"Huddersfield will offer us a massive test on Sunday. They've probably got the biggest pack in the comp which can definitely work for them but also against them. They all look pretty agile and mobile but obviously being such a big side means that if you are quite smart against them, you can tire them, move them around and play laterally through their middle unit which can be a bit of a hindrance for them.
As I suggested earlier, it's going to be a physical game at times but that's the best way to get back into it. Getting knocked around a bit will only help harden up the body for Round 1."