De­fend­ing pre­miers give Crocs a shake

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT -

THE Port Dou­glas Crocs were given a scare by de­fend­ing pre­miers Saints but kept their un­beaten record in­tact at the Crocpit last Satur­day.

Af­ter the Crocs raced away to a five-goal lead in the first quar­ter, the Saints started to fire and edged to within five points of the Crocs at the main break be­fore the home side re­asserted its dom­i­nance to sneak away again.

Crocs coach Andy Vi­ola said his play­ers paid the price for not main­tain­ing the tempo in the sec­ond half.

“Good sides will do that to you if you slacken off and Saints are a good side, that’s why they’ve won the last two pre­mier­ships,” he said.

“But it was a credit to our boys they did re­spond and didn’t panic and were able to main­tain their struc­tures and get the win.”

Vi­ola sin­gled out full­back Daniel Fisher and ruck­man Bren­nan Beall for putting in for the whole game while Daniel Smith and Paul Minch­ing­ton also stood up for the Crocs.

For­ward Matt Shaw booted six goals to take his sea­son tally to 88 with two games re­main­ing and Vi­ola has backed his main tar­get to reach triple fig­ures.

“Shawy’s ca­pa­ble of get­ting the 100 this week even,” Vi­ola said.

“He kicked 12 a few weeks ago and the Hawks are a bit lack­ing in qual­ity de­fend­ers.

“In say­ing that, we’re not go­ing to be tak­ing the Hawks lightly as they are still a chance to fin­ish sec­ond if they can get on top of us so they’ve got plenty to play for.

“It will be good to play them down at Cazaly’s be­cause that’s where the fi­nals will be played.”

The Crocs re­serve grade side were thumped by Saints and are now equal sec­ond on the lad­der with Norths.

Photo by NEIL WEAVERS

Elu­sive: Caydn Beetham had an­other strong game for the Crocs

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