Wigan and Widnes sign Cross
Wigan and Widnes have moved quickly to secure the services of Australian prop Ben Cross following his release by Leeds.
Last Updated: 12/07/11 4:18pm
Ben Cross has signed for two other English clubs following his release by Leeds Rhinos.
The 32-year-old Australian prop has joined defending Super League champions Wigan until the end of the year, and has also agreed a 12-month contract with Widnes for their first season back in the top flight.
Widnes have also signed second rower Hep Cahill on a three-year deal from Crusaders.
Wigan beat last Friday's signing deadline to register Cross and announced the deal on Tuesday after receiving a visa for him.
Cross, who played under Wigan coach Michael Maguire for Canberra and Melbourne, has not played in Super League for three months after losing his place at Leeds and is likely to make his first appearance for the Warriors' Under-20s this weekend.
"Ben is a good addition to our squad and will add extra competition for places," said Maguire.
Cross, who joined the Rhinos from Newcastle Knights in the winter, was made a free agent after being unable to reclaim his first-team spot under Brian McDermott.
Widnes coach Denis Betts said: "Ben will bring a massive appetite for work and an enormous amount of enthusiasm with him, in both a playing and mentoring capacity.
"He's determined to play in Super League and his age dictates that he's motivated and ready to kick on for the duration of his one-year contract.
"I've no doubt whatsoever that he'll give us the experience up front that we'll need when we're back in the top flight.
"For the likes of Ben Kavanagh and the other young front rowers at the club to work alongside someone of his pedigree and experience will be invaluable and can only benefit them.
"Not only does he have a fantastic work ethic and comes highly recommended from the NRL competition in Australia, but he's also got a point to prove too, which makes it all the more exciting to have him here."
Cross and Cahill are the Vikings' first overseas signings, although the club have also handed Super League contracts to current first-teamers Paddy Flynn, Steve Pickersgill and Ben Kavanagh.
Cahill, 24, has made 13 appearances so far for Crusaders after joining them from Melbourne Storm.
"Hep fits the bill entirely," said Betts. "He comes with a great pedigree and has been well educated through his time at a really strong environment in Melbourne.
"He's already an outstanding young player with a tremendous appetite for work but there's still bags of unfulfilled potential in him and, as pleased as we are to be welcoming him here, he's just as excited about joining a club that can put a platform in place to help him excel even further."