Josh Ross: the big league

Football dreams of past
By Mike Hurst

May 25, 2007 12:00

AUSTRALIA’S fastest man, four-time national 100m champion Josh Ross, wonders how life would have turned out had he continued playing rugby league.

As he hurtles off the bend on the Homebush training track this week, silhouetted by the setting sun, the NRL is the furthest thing from the athlete’s mind. He is, through necessity, fully self-absorbed by his art and the need to exercise a subtle discipline over his own raging power.

But in a quieter moment he admits he could have been earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in the NRL instead of skimping to make ends meet on the road to next year’s Beijing Olympics.

After six years playing at junior representative level in the great league nursery of Woy Woy on the NSW Central Coast, the game lost track of Ross. And he’s not sure why.

If he was the fastest man in America or England he would almost certainly have been approached to have a run on the gridiron or the rugby field.

But Ross, 26, who claimed his fourth consecutive Australian 100m title in the world-class time of 10.08sec in March, has been ignored.

"I played league for six years, I played schoolboy reps from 10 to 16,’’ Ross revealed. "I probably would be on easy street if I had gone on with football but even if they did appreciate me and made me an offer, there’s no longer passion for league like there is for athletics.’’

That new-found passion will take him to Europe next Friday where he will compete on the grand prix tour in preparation for the world athletics championships, starting on August 25 in Osaka, Japan.

Then it’s all eyes on the Beijing Olympics next August. "I have my goals on the track but I will keep them to myself for now,’’ said Ross, a semi-finalist at the 2005 world titles.

"However, in relation to league, I’ve got a mad step on me. That’s the black fella in me - the Aboriginal - we’re all talented at any sport.’’

He may be one of the most exciting athletes in Australia but he’s still cash-strapped, although he trains in anticipation of a big pay-day.

Ross’s coach Emil Rizk said the sprint champion might have contemplated league for a rich offer.
"But he’s not going to stop what he’s doing for $200,000 now because if he gets a medal in Beijing he’ll earn way more than that,’’ Rizk said.

Keep up the good work bro…

amazing how 10 years after one stops their ability sudedenly increases.

I didnt know he had Black fella in him! I just thought he was tanned?

Since Aust lacks the ability to take male sprinters into the next level from where Joss Ross in now, perhaps he should consider moving to the states and train with the HSI group where John Steff is?

That’s a big call and probably the records supports what you’ve written, but I suspect surely that Australia has some capable coaches and some capable competitors. But perhaps they haven’t been introduced to each-other. Perhaps the administration has a case to answer there. But in the past there have been some good results. Rick Mitchell an Olympic silver at 400m, Paul Narracott a 100m finalist in Helsinki I, Peter Norman a 200m silver medallist in Mexico.

Darren Clarke was quite handy as well.

For sure. However there seems to be a lot of guys consistantly reaching decient times in the sprints. There always seems to be somebody how at some stage of the year runs a decient time. However, they dont seem to ever get any better (with an exception every say 5yrs or so?). With the amount of guys able to get under 10.20 here in Aust consistantly yr after yr, its disapointing to never (well rarely) see an Aussie Male make a international level final (olympics or worlds). I dont think shirvo ever made it, Dean cappa was the best in the 200m (5th at worlds was it?) from my past memory. If we take it only from the last 10yrs, 100m to 400m, who has made an Oly or worlds final? (Male). I might do a google.
If Athletics Aust cant organise themselfs to create a sprinting platform, perhaps they should look to nations that can. John Steff has, and it looks to be paying off. I remember Ato Bolden said to shirvo after his Comm games 4th, to come and train wth the HSi team if he wants. Where is he now?
Something has to be done from AA for sure.

Patrick Johnson
5 May 03

Matt Shirvington
Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia
17 Sep 98

Joshua Ross
10 Mar 07

Damien Marsh
Monte Carlo,Monaco
9 Sep 95

Rod Mapstone
28 Jan 96

Adam Miller
10 Mar 07

Ambrose Ezenwa
26 Jan 06

Daniel Batman

from the last 12yrs, on the aust mens all time list according to the AA web site.

Has anyone got any more info on Josh Ross? I’d be interested to learn a bit more about him. My Dad’s an Aussie citizen now, so would be nice to keep a bit more on track with what’s going on that side of the globe!

TIP 1 - dont go to the AA web site its a disgrace to navigate your way around.

Right on Nanny…The AA website use to be pretty simple and reasonably quick until they changed it. It is frustrating trying to find certain items that you want on the current site.

I try to avoid it if I can.

And if you haven’t got broadband, make yourself a a cup of coffee or tea because it is can take some time to download the pages.

Anyway after a little while, I accessed the Josh Ross profile page.