Crocs jobs for the boys a winner
The Port Douglas Crocs have pulled off a great coup by not only attracting 23 new players to the club from all over Australia for this season but also finding most of the new arrivals jobs despite tough economic times.
With work in Port Douglas thin on the ground, the end of last year’s AFL footy season saw an unprecedented exodus of players from the club as some retired while many of the younger players headed to the big cities or the mines leaving President Andy Smith and his committee with only 22 players and new football season looming.
“We need a minimum of 50 players to field two teams,” Mr Smith said.
“So at the end of the day we had to recruit 23-24 new players from down south and interstate and whereas three or four years ago there was so much work around - now it’s really hard.”
Coach Brad Cooper and the team worked the phones and all their contacts to find the new players and roll out the welcome mat for them setting up work, accommodation and even pitching in for some of their travel costs and providing a few basic household necessities to get them started.
Mr Smith said that the club had attracted some excellent talent but they had all put in a lot of hard work with new team members coming from as far afield as Adelaide and even Bunbury in WA and although almost every player could earn more elsewhere they had come to Port Douglas for the lifestyle.
“We have one new player who is also a pilot and has to travel to Cairns for work and another two who are concreters and have had to take work as far away as Mission Beach and Tully, but they have all hit the ground running.”
“I slashed the player budget to reduce the pressure on the club and the local community that support us and we have been working behind the scenes with the juniors finding apprenticeships for as many as we can to encourage them to stay in the region and give the club some security.”
Despite all the hard work the Crocs have found themselves up against some stiff competition so far this season but Mr Smith is expecting a good result from next week’s home ground clash against the Manunda Hawks.
“The Cairns based teams have a far greater opportunity to attract players because they have much wider employment opportunities for them,“Mr Smith said.
“So it makes it pretty hard for us to win the games.”
New blood: the new crocs players