Crocs ready to snap
THE Port Douglas Crocs will be out to redeem themselves against South Cairns at the Croc Pit on Saturday after allowing North Cairns to get away with the first game of the season.
New Crocs coach Brad Cooper is confident his new-look side will respond positively to last week’s 13.13.91 to 10.9.69 defeat at the hands of a revamped Rex Liddy inspired North Cairns.
Before the game, the opposing teams, match officials, and spectators observed a minute’s silence in memory of the tragic loss of local young Croc identity Graeme Elliot, and Melbourne Football Club great, Jim Stynes.
Poor kicking for goal let them down but the early signs for Port Douglas were ominous. Mitch Nicholson and newcomers, cocaptain Sam Combridge and Kurt Bradshaw, were prominent stopping many opposition forward thrusts with strong defensive work but the damage had been done and the Crocs were down by 33 points.
Whatever coach Brad Cooper said to the boys at the quarter time break worked, as within the first two minutes Kurt Bradshaw had snapped two goals.
Another new man Luke Serong found the goals and scores were almost level.
Kicking into the breeze in the third quarter the Crocs were looking so much better. First to the ball, fiercer tackling and better team work now evident as old and new team members started to combine more effectively.
Port Douglas by now were down to only 18 fit players and in the extremely hot conditions were unable to sustain the pace and despite getting to within 15 points at threequarter time, North Cairns kicked away.
“There were some good signs but we have a fair way to go and have to keep improving if we want to make an impression,” Cooper said.
“We lacked a bit of fitness and also have some work to do on our decision-making.
“You’re always up against it if you’re 30 points down at quarter time, you’re just playing catch-up.
“But there were some positive signs, the boys moved the ball well with hand and foot.
“We just have to stick to our structures and lock the game down defensively when the momentum goes against us and not turn over the ball so much in their forward 50.
“It’s a very new team and they should grow from week to week, they trained very hard on Tuesday night and are keen to redeem themselves in front of their home crowd.”
Last weekend’s reserves match was most entertaining with both teams going neck and neck for almost the entire match.
Early skill errors soon declined and play was of a good standard.
The Crocs put in a terrific final quarter to run out winners by almost three goals.
Luke Bloom, Kane Freyling, Jackson Brown, Michael Pidgeon and Jules Smith put in excellent persistent performances and Karl Zammataro showed he has lost none of his blistering pace.
The reserves match starts at 1pm on Saturday at the Croc Pit with the seniors playing at 3pm.