Crocs tackle champs
THE Port Douglas Crocs will get a good gauge of their premiership credentials when they tackle defending premiers Cairns Saints in a twilight game at the Crocpit on Saturday.
Both teams are equal second on the ladder behind undefeated North Cairns and while the Crocs will head into the game as underdogs, they are proving worthy contenders with their new-look team.
The Crocs would have gained some confidence from last Saturday’s enthralling one- point victory over South Cairns.
From the opening bounce to the final siren, the result was always in doubt with both teams throwing everything they had at each other and making a few mistakes which cost them much-needed goals.
The Cutters snuck away to a 14-point lead after the first quarter before the Crocs rallied, steadied and surged toward goal again and again.
Neither team could break the defensive shackles before the Crocs unleashed a flurry of goals in the third quarter and managed two late goals to score a 12.16.88 to 12.15.87 victory.
Adam Boone at centre-half forward was strong early and battled tirelessly all day, Kurt Bradshaw was a ball magnet and racked up numerous telling possessions as well as the final goal, Lukas Teasdale was palming the ball effectively in the ruck and Mark Nuggin was at his nippy tenacious best on a wing.
Crocs coach Brad Cooper said it was a scrappy win with a lot of turnovers and mistakes and his players will have to improve if they want to taste victory over the competition benchmark on Saturday.
‘‘There were positives and negatives to take away from that game and now we need to work hard and get prepared for this week’s game against the Saints,’’ he said.
‘‘We need to be mentally and physically prepared for the match and make sure we put everything we have into all four quarters.’’
Cooper cited Ben Young, Kurt Bradshaw, Adam Boone and Dylan Wearmouth as his standouts.
‘‘These guys were running hard all game, now we just need to get the other guys performing as well.’’
The reserves match against Cutters was also a nip and tuck affair, with both teams refusing to give in.
Jimmy Astill was throwing himself into the fray and getting numerous touches, Mitch Nicholson was making good use of the ball and Ethan McCulloch was in fine form and finished with four goals.
Kane Freyling was kicking long to position and Chasely Nandy was prominent for the whole game.
Cutters staged a late revival but the Crocs prevailed to get home by 11 points 9.12.66 to 8.7.55.
The Crocs Under-16s will play a rare home game on Saturday before the reserves start at 3pm and the seniors at 5pm.