Croc pit Pie day hauls in fans
PORT Douglas Pies’ fans thought they had died and gone to Heaven after the Collingwood Football Club’s players held a full training session at the Croc Pit last Thursday.
Coach Nathan Buckley was looking relaxed and sprightly as he took his team out on to the ground for a warm-up session and some light training.
Meanwhile, Luke Ball was regaling hundreds of fans.
“It has just been fabulous to get away up here and everyone, especially our fans who have just been wonderful to us and made coming to Port Douglas a very easy thing to do,” Ball said.
“Some of the players’ wives will also be coming up later and so it will be a real family affair and help the guys to relax and re-charge their batteries which we all need to do because we have some pretty tough games coming up and we need to be in peak condition.
“And I would like to thank all of our fans who turned up here to say hello to the boys and to wish us well and to also thank all the people of Port Douglas and where we have been staying and going out thank you all.”
With the hard work over the team later headed out to the Iron Bar on Macrossan St where a group of about 70 players, players’ wives and children, coaches and support staff let their hair down.
Iron Bar co-owner Steve Hull said the club booked out the upstairs bar, had a meal and took part in the cane toad races.
“A few had a few beers and they had a great time,’’ he said.
“I spoke to their football manager Geoff Walsh and they said the entire trip had been fantastic.’’
Walsh told the Gazette the stay had been “as good as gold’’.
Mr Hull said the club’s stay in Port Douglas was a much needed way of diversifying the tourism industry.
“They are exactly the kind of elite sporting groups we need to attract,’’ he said.
“I would love to see them back . . . this could not be more positive, this is the string in the bow we need.’’
Port Douglas Crocodiles’ AFL president Andy Smith said it had been great to see the Magpie players mingle with the crowd after the training session.
He was, however, disappointed that the team, who had relied on the Crocs to supply massage tables and drink bottles, as well as the use of the ground, had not interacted with the local players.
“It was great for the town but it would have been really appreciated if some of the players could have taken the time to attend a Croc’s training session,’’ he said.
Training hard: Collingwood players entertain AFL fans at the Croc Pit