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Easts stalwart George Cross reaches 100 games with minimal John I Dent Cup wins

Chris Dutton

Published: May 20 2017 - 5:31PM

Easts stalwart George Cross is the Canberra club rugby warrior who's about to play his 100th game, but hasn't won in almost three years.

So if anyone deserves to win a milestone game, it's the hard-working flanker who plays for love rather than glory.

Easts hope to celebrate Cross' century with a win against the Uni-Norths Owls at Griffith Oval on Saturday as the teams battle for the Owen Brown Cup.

The club was on the wrong side of a different sort of century when they leaked 104 points in a first-grade clash against the Queanbeyan Whites last week.

It was another tough moment to swallow for Cross, who has won an estimated five or six games of the 99 games he's played so far.

But after a lifetime in the Easts system, starting as a junior when he was five and still playing 23 years later, Cross' rugby career is about mates and a deep passion for the sport.

"We've had a few good seasons a few years ago, but just didn't get the results. It hasn't been all doom and gloom, but it hasn't been easy either," Cross said.

"I like winning those one-on-one battles on the field. But I don't play for accolades or anything like that, I just want to play with my friends and they play for Easts.

"I just want to have some fun this weekend, I'm not thinking about it too much."

Cross, 27, epitomises the heart and soul of Easts as the club fights to get on a level playing field with the stronger teams in the competition.

He's also proof that amateur sport isn't about winning, it's about playing with mates and enjoyment.

Cross prefers to spend his time in the forwards, but such is his dedication he shifted on to the wing in recent weeks to help Easts plug some holes.

Cross admits there have been some tough times, including the 104 points Queanbeyan scored last weekend, which he rated as one of the most embarrassing defeats in recent years.

Then there was the day Easts had to forfeit a premier division match in 2014 because of a lack of players just days after being thumped 92-0.

But while Easts, the only foundation club still in the competition, haven't won a game since round two of the 2015 season, they refuse to give in and are determined to forge a path forward.

That's why winning the Owen Brown Cup is so important, given Brown was the man who saved the club when it was on its knees five years ago.

"A few years ago I was thinking that was it, that I wasn't having any fun," Cross said.

"But we were lucky enough to get John Ross on board [as coach] and he's been excellent. I'm enjoying my rugby a lot more again."


Saturday: Easts v Uni-Norths Owls at Griffith Oval, 3.05pm; Gungahlin Eagles v Royals at Gungahlin Enclosed, 3.15pm; Tuggeranong Vikings v Wests at Viking Park, 3.25pm. Queanbeyan - bye.

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