Back in the fold and in the hunt

Ben Ross
Ben Ross Brett Wortman

HE MAY be a warhorse scarred by long campaigns against hostile forces, but Ben Ross feels as frisky as a young colt.

The prodigal son has returned to his old Sutherland Shire fortress at Cronulla in preparation for the start of the 2012 NRL season, his sabre rattling.

Back on the Sunshine Coast for the Christmas break, the Nambour Crushers product spoke to the Daily yesterday about the shock of rejuvenation he had experienced after inking a two-year deal with his former club.

He also spoke effusively about the long-suffering Sharks' chances of success next season, insisting the club now possessed the personnel to "shake the NRL up".

With the club having been reinforced by new signings - including discarded Rooster Todd Carney, Wests Tigers duo Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Fifita and Newcastle's Isaac de Gois - Ross believes it has the potential to play finals football for the first time since 2008 if it can harness that talent.

"I'M going back (after Christmas) to prove a point. I know the team can do something special," the veteran prop said.

"Hopefully, I'm there when we do it."

The 31-year-old, who might have signed his last NRL contract, played 45 times for Cronulla between 2006-09.

Cronulla helped transform him into the player he became, but it was also the club where his career almost ended when he suffered a serious neck injury in the opening round in 2009.

He was a millimetre away from being left paralysed for life and after almost two years of rehabilitation following surgery, he returned to play for the South Sydney Rabbitohs this year after signing with the club in 2010 and taking a baseline pay cut of more than $350,000.

And what a season it was, with Ross averaging more than 100 metres a game while playing every match.

It was Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen who convinced him to return to the Sharks, following a chance encounter at a shopping mall.

"He's one of the main reasons I came back to Cronulla," former Queensland Origin star Ross said.

"He was pushing me to come back. So I've got the respect of the captain and one of the world's best players. It's exciting to go back and play with him."

Ross said wild child Carney was thriving at the Sharks because of his "phenomenal" ability and had provided the side with a much-needed x-factor.

Topics:  ben ross cronulla nrl

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Byron CBD break ins: Woman confronts intruder

BYRON BREAK INS: Locals are concerned about a spate of recent break ins.

RESIDENTS of Byron Bay are concerned at spate of break ins in CBD.

Shark issue forces school to cancel all ocean sports

NO NET GAIN: Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson makes his opinion clear at last weekend's No Nets Rally and turtle release at Ballina.

"There is currently an unacceptable risk", says principal

Greens fight and fuss but shark nets are coming

The NSW Government has vowed to reintroduce old-style mesh shark nets to North Coast beaches.

Mesh shark nets almost certain to arrive at North Coast beaches

Local Partners

Jake left broken-hearted by Bachelorette break-up

Jake Ellis is one of the final three bachelors on The Bachelorette.

GEORGIA chooses Lee and Matty J as her final two suitors.

MOVIE REVIEW: Doctor Strange is out there in a good way

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the movie Doctor Strange.

MARVEL'S new superhero takes viewers along on his mind trip.

MOVIE REVIEW: Jack Reacher sequel falls flat

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

THE film's title Never Go Back should serve as a warning to fans.

The Bachelor contestants find love with each other

Former Bachelor contestants Megan Marx and Tiffany Scanlon have confirmed their relationship on social media.

MEGAN Marx and Tiffany Scanlon confirm relationship on Instagram.

Liam Payne wants to wed Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Liam Payne

Liam Payne reportedly wants to marry Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

Bindi Irwin 'honoured' to make MAXIM HOT 100 list

Wildlife Warrior named among Australia's most beautiful women

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals