Deon Cross grateful to past coaches after Salford Red Devils switch

Deon Cross says he’s enjoying training under Paul Rowley as the new Salford coach prepares for a pre-season visit from one of his former clubs.

The ex-Leigh and Toronto coach, appointed in November after spells as a coaching consultant at the Red Devils, then head of rugby development, is looking forward to warm-up matches at home to Swinton and Halifax and away to Warrington.

The game at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday, February 4 (7.45pm) is popular ex-Salford prop Lee Mossop’s testimonial.

Before that come the clashes with neighbours Swinton on Saturday week January 15 (2pm, preceded by a meeting of the respective women’s sides) and Halifax, where Rowley had six years as a player, on Friday, January 21 (7.30pm).

Hooker Amir Bourouh, who has been signed from Wigan, made ten loan appearances for Halifax last season, while fellow new recruit Cross featured against both Swinton and the Yorkshire side for Widnes, for whom he scored 18 tries in 25 games in 2021.

The 25-year-old winger previously played for Rochdale and Barrow after catching the eye with community club Blackbrook in the National Conference League following his release by St Helens as a junior.

He grabbed eleven tries for Rochdale in 2018, 14 for Barrow the year after and six in six games for Widnes in the Covid-curtailed 2020 campaign.

Now Cross is delighted to have clinched a full-time contract.

And he’s thankful to his various coaches along the way, explaining: “I’ve been like a sponge, trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible.

“Alan Kilshaw (now in charge of Hunslet) gave me my chance at Rochdale, and really supported me as I made the step up from amateur level.

“Paul Crarey at Barrow is a real character with a great feel for the game, then when I went to Widnes, Tim Sheens was in charge, and look at the clubs and players he has coached over the years.

“Simon Finnigan took over and pushed me on again. He knew I wanted to earn a crack at Super League, he said he’d do everything possible to help me and he was as good as his word.

“Now I’m working with Paul Rowley, Kurt Haggerty and Danny Orr, and I really appreciate the effort they have made to help me settle in.”

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