Dom Crosby says he has returned to action “mentally stronger” from his personal tragedy as he prepares to lock horns with his old club Wigan on Friday night.
Crosby had to deal with the death of newborn baby daughter Ada a year ago and, despite going on to make a few appearances for his new club, soon realised he wasn’t ready to play.
Warrington gave him some time off and, after nine months on the sidelines which included surgery on a long-standing shoulder problem, he is now ready to kick-start his Super League career.
He made his comeback in last Friday’s win at Widnes and now he’s ready to face the club where he made 102 appearances.
Crosby said: “It’s been a pretty tough 12 months, I’m just thankful to being out there again.
“I shouldn’t have played last year when I tried to. I didn’t do myself any good.
“I wasn’t in the right mind-space to come back and play, even though the intentions were right. I was training and staying fit, but my head wasn’t in the right place.
“I’m just thankful the club allowed me time off and supported me throughout.
“I personally don’t think I’d be in the position I am, if I wasn’t at this club and they didn’t give me the support I had. They helped me, Megan and my family out massively.
“I think I’ve come back a stronger player, not just physically but mentally as well. I think that’ll give me the edge this year.”
Crosby left Wigan after the 2016 Grand Final triumph against Warrington – one of the highlights of his five years with his hometown club – and is still close friends with many of his former team-mates.
Forward Liam Farrell was one of the ushers at his wedding last December... which Crosby and his family had extra reason to celebrate.
“Megan is expecting another baby – we announced it at the wedding before Christmas, There were a few tears shed,” smiled the 27-year old.
“ She has been my rock throughout this. She’s due in May, she’s expecting a boy.
“As negative as last year was, we ended it on a positive and we’re really happy at the moment.”
Crosby, a former St Pat’s junior, has played against Wigan before, lining up against them at the Magic Weekend last May before taking time off.
“I’ll always have a soft spot for them,” he said. “I supported them growing up, won two Grand Finals, played in four, I’m a Wigan lad.
“I’m sure there’ll be some banter between us this week! I’m sure we’ll have a bit of fun on Friday.
“For me, I want to kick-start my career and progress as a player. This season feels like I’m a fresh signing, I’m like a kid at Christmas again.”
He added: “I feel like I need to repay Warrington because they’ve not seen the best Dom Crosby - that’s what I want them to see this year.”
Wigan arrived back in England on Monday from their mini-tour Down Under, giving them just four days to shake off the jet lag and prepare for this televised derby.
But Crosby doesn’t think their exhaustive schedule will blunt their performance on Friday.
“I don’t think the travel will affect them one bit, they’re too mentally strong,” he said. “They’re killing it, they’re looking really good.
“For me, Wigan are the marker side this year and we’re looking forward to this test.”