Dom Crosby has admitted he is unsure where he would be in life without the support of Warrington Wolves as he prepares for happier times both on and off the field in 2018.
Crosby made his comeback following nine months out injured against Widnes last weekend – but there was serious tragedy off the field for the 27-year-old and his family to contend with away from rugby, following the death of he and wife Megan’s baby daughter, Ada, last year.
That tragedy, coupled with an injury which restricted him to only seven appearances for Warrington his first season at the club, left Crosby admitting he wasn’t mentally or physically ready to play last year. However, after overcoming his own injury problems, there is even bigger – and more important – news away from the game for the prop and his family to look forward to.
“We’re expecting another little lad, which we announced at our wedding before Christmas,” he said. “As negative as 2017 was, we ended it on a positive note and we’re happy at the moment. We’re positive this year.
“We decided to announce it to our friends at the wedding, and the baby is due in May – there were a few tears shed. It was unexpected, but we’re really looking forward to it. As I say, it was great to end the year on a positive and Megan has been my rock.”
Crosby is also quick to point out one thing; while last year was a horrendous time for both himself and his family, one thing was a constant throughout. He explained: “The support from the club was massive. I personally don’t think I’d be in the position I am now if it wasn’t for the support of this club.
“They helped me and Megan massively, and Pricey (coach Steve Price) has come in and helped me focus. I’ve come back a stronger player and that will give me the edge mentally this year. It’s a relief to be playing. It’s well-documented I shouldn’t have been playing last year when I tried to, it didn’t do myself any good. I’m thankful the club stood by me, allowed me the time off and stood by me – I think I’ve come back mentally and physically stronger.”
With a new arrival due in a few weeks’ time, some sleepless nights are somewhat inevitable for Crosby and his family. However, one thing that will hopefully not be keeping him awake on a night anymore is his rugby career: having made his long-awaited comeback from shoulder surgery last week against Widnes.
And with that comeback game now behind him, the forward is eager to show Warrington and the club’s supporters the real Dom Crosby. “If I look back on last season, I played one game and got knocked out!” he laughed.
“Then everything happened with Ada, and I don’t think I was in the right space mentally to come back. My intentions were in the right place though, and I need to repay the club now. They’ve not seen the best Dom Crosby and that’s what I’m wanting to do this year; be really positive and have a positive impact on how we play.”
And Friday will see Crosby line up against some familiar faces – boyhood club Wigan, whose side include some close friends that helped him through his tragic 2017. “(Warrington team-mate and former Wigan player) Jack Hughes was my best man at the wedding, and a few Wigan players like Faz (Liam Farrell) were there because I stay in touch with a few of them still,” he said.
“It’ll always be strange playing Wigan, because I’ve supported them since I was a kid, played in four Grand Finals for them and been lucky enough to win two. There’ll always be a soft spot there for them being a Wigan lad but I’m looking forward to this week, and showing Warrington what I can do. It was surreal playing against them at Magic Weekend, but this year feels like a fresh start. I feel like a kid at Christmas, and I’m looking forward to this season.
“I’m feeling very positive after the comeback. It’s been a tough 12 to 18 months, and I’m just thankful for being back out there and getting fit. I feel a lot better this year.”
And whether it is Wigan fans, Warrington supporters or even those who are just rugby league fans in general, surely everyone will be glad to see Crosby back doing what he loves after the most difficult of years in 2017.