For a child brought up in a household where his father made his name in Rugby League, there was perhaps always going to be one route that Ben Crooks would take.
As a teenager coming through the Hull ranks, it was like father like son when the threequarter made his Super League debut in April 2012.
“Making my debut for Hull was massive,” says Crooks.
“It was the club I had supported since I was a kid and it was a massive moment for me and my family when I made my debut there at 18.
“I really enjoyed my time there as well and I have nothing but praise for the way I was treated.”
After spending some time on loan at Doncaster, Crooks swapped the northern hemisphere for the southern one ahead of the 2015 season. And even though he failed to make an appearance for the Parramatta Eels, it was an experience he will always remember.
“It was disappointing that I didn’t get to play for Parra, but to experience the lifestyle of living over there and being in and around a professional NRL team brought me on leaps and bounds as a player.
“Being over there with my partner brought me on as a person too. We made memories and moments that we will cherish and learn from. It was fantastic to be able to do that.”
Crooks spent just a year Down Under before returning to the UK, signing for his hometown club Castleford in 2016 before spending time at Leigh the following season.
“I signed a three-year deal at Castleford, but it was only short lived,” says Crooks.
“It was similar to making my debut for Hull – it was my hometown club, which was a big moment for me with my dad spending time there too.
“I really enjoyed my time at Castleford, but then I went on loan to Leigh which was a new experience playing for a club that had just been promoted from the Championship, with a new set of players to meet over the other side of the Pennines.
“I signed for two years, but we got relegated and couldn’t quite make promotion the year after and things went a bit sideways after that.
“There was a good set of blokes and playing staff and it was a great experience, even if it did end badly.”
Crooks spent the latter stages of the 2018 season on loan at Hull KR and the deal was made permanent for 2019. Since then, the rangy threequarter has made the switch from centre to wing.
“I’m really loving my time at Hull KR,” he says.
“I’ve got a really great set of team-mates, and the staff and fans really welcomed me when I first got here, even though I’d played for Hull.
“I’ve been moved to the wing, but I’m just happy to play wherever I can – wing, centre, fullback or even prop, it doesn’t matter to me as long as I am on the pitch.”
The centre-turned-winger is determined to help the Robins invoke the spirit of the club’s heritage and climb up the Super League ladder.
“I want to do the best I can for the team and do what I can to get us out of the rut and this expectation of us to be at the bottom,” he says.
“It’s a big club with a rich history and we deserve to be higher up, we deserve to be better.
“The club and fans deserve it and I’m just focused on doing my part for the team to ensure it happens.”
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