Deon Cross believes Super League clubs miss talent that lies under their noses
DEON Cross wants to teach Super League a lesson – after working with children kicked out of mainstream education.
The Salford new boy has graduated to full-time rugby league after previously working as a sports mentor with ‘naughty kids’ in his native St Helens.
And after seeing success there, he wants to further show top flight clubs they are missing talent under their noses after finding himself at amateur level.
Cross, 25, ended up at Championship side Widnes after a baptism of fire when he was thrown into Rochdale Hornets’ side for a pre-season friendly against Warrington.
But the former St Helens junior is convinced amateur sides contain players that can step up as he said: “Clubs are definitely missing talent, sometimes you don’t get respected as much but it’s definitely there. It’s about getting that chance.
“At amateur level, there were players who were better than me but went under the radar. So many who are capable of stepping up miss out on opportunities.
“I dropped back to the Blackbrook club and played Under-18 then three years at open age level.
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“Playing against fully grown men on a Saturday afternoon definitely toughened me up then the coach, Anthony Walker, was at Rochdale at the time. He said, ‘We’re short on players, do you want to play?’
“I said, ‘Yeah, who are they playing?’ The answer was, ‘Warrington Wolves!’
“And the old job was very challenging. The children lacked motivation and hated going to school. Trying to get them motivated was tough and outside of school, there was a lot of trouble with the police.
“It was about trying to get them on the right track and it felt like I could be a good mentor to them as with me playing rugby, they looked up to me a bit.”