Sunraysia mourns the man who changed our football

Imperials’ 1988 premiership side. Back: J. Kennedy, P. Hogarth. M. Hogarth, L. Noonan, J. Hallam, R. Garlick, J. Price, M. Gilmour. Centre: P. Maloney (president), J. Barham, S. Bowden, G. Leaf, G. Herrick, B. Pickering, I. Cameron, M. Leake, K. Innes, K. Roddy (selector), A. Walters (secretary). Front: G. Darby, W. Mayne, A. Hickey, M. Cross (circled), G. Weaver, M. Hickey.

Imperials’ 1988 premiership side. Back: J. Kennedy, P. Hogarth. M. Hogarth, L. Noonan, J. Hallam, R. Garlick, J. Price, M. Gilmour. Centre: P. Maloney (president), J. Barham, S. Bowden, G. Leaf, G. Herrick, B. Pickering, I. Cameron, M. Leake, K. Innes, K. Roddy (selector), A. Walters (secretary). Front: G. Darby, W. Mayne, A. Hickey, M. Cross (circled), G. Weaver, M. Hickey.

FORMER Red Cliffs and Imperials football club premiership coach Mark Cross has been remembered as a “born leader” following his death in Melbourne this week after a battle with cancer, aged 61.

In his nine seasons in Sunraysia, “Crossy” played in seven premierships (coaching six), brought a new level of professionalism to the competition and established Imperials as a league powerhouse for years to come.

Recruited by Red Cliffs in 1980 after captaining Williamstown in the Victorian Football Association the previous season, Cross had an immediate impact, with premierships in 1980 and 1981.

After finishing runners-up to Mildura by a point in 1982, he led the Tigers to another flag in 1983 before finishing third the following season.

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