ORANGE Hawks were looking at having the most over-qualified waterboy in the 2012 Group 10 season.
That was until former NRL player Garret Crossman decided to pull the boots on this year.
Crossman (pictured), who has played over 100 top grade games in the NRL and European Super League, signed with Hawks last week.
Hawks president Anthony Redfern is understandably excited to have the forward on board.
“We were really lucky there,” Redfern said.
“He rang up and wanted to run the water for us. When he said that we said it was a bit of a waste of his skills. We asked him to play but he didn’t know if he wanted to. He definitely wanted to help the club and we were happy with that.
“Once he met James (Wynne, captain-coach) and saw where we were heading he said he’d think about it (playing). He came back and asked how he could sign up.”
Crossman will bring a wealth of top level experience to Hawks this season.
The former Bloomfield Tigers junior played 24 NRL games with Penrith in 2004 and 2005 before joining the Melbourne Storm.
He played 35 games from 2006 to 2007 and was 18th man in the Storm’s grand final win over Manly in 2007.
He then went to England where he joined Hull KR and played 26 games in the European Super League in 2008.
When he returned to Australia in 2009 he signed with the Rabbitohs and played another 18 NRL games in 2009 and 2010.
He took last year off to focus on his Bachelor of Science degree which he was studying at the University of NSW.
Wynne, a former French international, knows Crossman’s signing will bolsters his side’s ranks.
“It’s definitely a bonus, especially a few weeks out from the season starting,” Wynne said.
“I’ve already had a few talks with Garret and he wants to help out as much as he can. He wants to be actively involved.”
Crossman’s top level experience could mean he is targeted by the opposition when the Group 10 season starts at the end of this month, but Wynne expects then entire Hawks side to be put under pressure.
“We’ve had a fair bit of publicity in the pre-season and we’re talking ourselves up that we’re new and improved,” Wynne said.
“I’m sure a few teams will want to show us that they’re around too. We just want to focus on our footy.”
Hawks haven’t had a trial match to date and, aside from the Bathurst Knockout in less than two weeks, Wynne said he was happy his side wouldn’t play a pre-season game.
“I don’t think we’re quite ready and playing a game might have set us back a week or two,” Wynne explained.
“We might be a bit underdone in terms of match fitness but we should be right.”