Ross denies Broncos move
London Broncos’ turbulent off-season looked to have taken another twist yesterday as one of their big-name signings said he was not heading to England.
The capital club appeared to have added a huge chunk of experience to their new, youthful squad by tempting veteran Australian prop Ben Ross out of retirement yesterday morning.
Coach Tony Rea described the 33-year-old, who has made six State of Origin appearances for Queensland, as a "meat and potatoes prop" and said it had been the "easiest deal" he had ever done.
But posts on Ross’ Twitter account last night suggested no such deal was in place.
“To hear I have sign with London Broncos is not the truth. They had offered a contract and Tony Rea was a complete professional. I have now decided to stay in Australia & follow my passion for community welfare. More will be explained on Monday,” Ross said.
If true, it will rob the Broncos of the 6ft 3in, 17st 5lb Ross, who played for St George Illawarra, Penrith, with whom he won the 2003 NRL Premiership, and South Sydney before finishing his NRL career in 2013 with Cronulla.
“He retired but the word going around Australia was that he didn't really want to,” Rea had said.
“We made a phone call and it was the easiest deal we’ve ever done. The guy was so hungry to keep playing.
“If someone has retired and you’ve got to drag them out, that usually means a week of talking to the wife and kids but this was done in an hour.
“This was a bloke who wanted to play. He's a meat and potatoes prop who will drive you forward and gets all his jobs done.”
Ross was the Londoners' fifth signing, joining Melbourne winger Denny Solomona, Tonga full-back Nesiasi Mataitonga, former St Helens hooker Scott Moore and Hull KR forward George Griffin at Barnet.
The Broncos have also secured the loan services of Leeds Rhinos youngsters James Duckworth, Thomas Minns and Alex Foster, who join the 12 players left from 2013 and take the Broncos' current squad up to 20 so far.
Rea is reshaping his squad after a winter of uncertainty which saw the Broncos eventually secure a future at Barnet's The Hive.