Crocs injury woes continue to hurt
THE Port Douglas Crocs might have to beat the Lions on one leg this Saturday after suffering several more injuries in last weekend’s fadeout against Centrals.
Co-captain Brad Lawlor and vice-captain Mitch Nicholson are both facing up to six weeks on the sidelines with knee injuries while wing Mark Nuggen, the side’s best player the previous week, faces a similar stint off the field with a back injury suffered in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Even coach Brad Cooper, pulling on the boots for the first time this season to fill the injury void, strained his hamstring.
For the second week in a row the Crocs blew a five-goal halftime lead to surrender the game in the final quarter to go down 14.5.89 to 11.8.74.
Luke Serong booted a great banana goal to open for the Crocs against Centrals and almost immediately Serong marked again to lob his second.
Kurt Bradshaw was providing great early drive through the midfield for the Crocs as the skill level lifted.
The Crocs made a great start to the second quarter when Ben Mccartney burst through the pack with brute strength and his long kick to Skip Gribbon resulted in a goal.
Ben Herbert was playing a good running game off the fullback line and Kurt Bradshaw continued to be involved in everything supported by Rohan Hanley.
Skip Gribbon popped through a great goal and followed it by hauling in a screamer of a mark for another.
But a tentative start to the third quarter by the Crocs let Centrals in for two quick goals. Bryce Willis got one back for Port but then two more found the sticks for Centrals.
The all-important final term opened with two goals to Centrals to tie the game as injuries took a heavy toll on the Crocs who were down to 16 fit players.
Centrals continued to score goals as a belated goal to Cooper for the Crocs showed fighting spirit but Centrals were able to control the play and take out the match.
Cooper said the heavy injury toll was something all squads had to contend with at some stage during the season and was confident those reserves picked for the top squad after training tonight could do the job.
“The biggest positive for the club at the moment is the form of our reserves, they’re playing good footy at the moment and there are several who warrant selection,” he said.
“We played some good footy again on the weekend, we took more marks in our forward 50 and had more entries into our forward line.
“It’s just the skills errors which cost us, we need to finish games stronger, be more accountable defensively and get better ball use going.”
In a one-sided reserves game last Saturday, to their great credit the Crocs pressed home their advantage, and teamed brilliantly until the final siren.
Second gamer Chase Nandy put in another brilliant performance for the Crocs, as did Jason Wilkie who booted 12 goals. Coach Darren Wall has got his team off to a flyer.
SENIORS: Centrals 14-5-89 defeated Port Douglas 11-8-74.
Best: K Bradshaw, B Herbert and R Hanley.
Goals: S Gribbon 3, K Freyling 2, L Serong 2, J Smith, B Willis and B Lawlor.
RESERVES: Port Douglas 31-19205 defeated Centrals 0-1-1.
Best: J Wilkie, C Nandy, C Tickell and K Taylor.
Goals: J Wilkie 12, C Nandy 6, M Lane 2, B Combridge 2, J Caswell, M Pidgeon, J Lowe, C Tickell and K Andrews.