Crocs out for re­venge

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - CLASSIFIEDS -

THE Crocs Re­serves team have high hopes of aveng­ing the bit­ter fi­nals de­feats of 2010 and 2011 this week­end when they come up against North Cairns in the Cairns AFL re­serves grand fi­nal at Cazalys.

De­spite the Se­nior group just fall­ing short in 2013 for a grand fi­nal berth, fin­ish­ing a very cred­i­ble third for the sea­son, the mostly very young bri­gade of the Port Dou­glas team be­lieve this year they are poised for a bet­ter as­sault for the re­serve premier­ship.

‘‘We play against a team in North Cairns which is rep­re­sented in both grades this grand fi­nal, hav­ing fin­ished on top of the lad­der con­sec­u­tively at the end of the home and away sea­son and we have a full re­spect for their ca­pac­ity to play a solid brand of football,’’ said Re­serves coach Lyn­ton Hef­fer. ‘‘In say­ing this our boys have risen to ev­ery chal­leng­ing oc­ca­sion this year and should have the true be­lief to go all the way.’’

When the team run onto the field on Satur­day they will be car­ry­ing with them the mem- ory of Ernie Bax­ter, co-founder of the club with Andy Smith back in 1998, who Hef­fer said was ‘‘the great­est name as­so­ci­ated with this club’’ and passed away this year.

‘‘The re­serve grade medal is named af­ter Ernie and per­son­ally I have qui­etly ded­i­cated my own sea­son around his ab­sence since his very, very sad pass­ing. It’ll be re­minded to the boys be­fore the game and it would mean so much to many if we can seal the deal this week­end.’’

Lyn­ton Hef­fer, re­cently ap­pointed Life Mem­ber, and four-time premier­ship player within the club, had this to say into the lead up to the big game this week­end:

‘‘It’s been a to­tal credit to the en­tire club to reg­is­ter a con­tender this grand fi­nal week­end. Our se­nior coach in Brad Cooper, football op­er­a­tions man­ager Jim Buck­ley and match com­mit­tee head hon­cho Kenny Nyko, along with the tire­less com­mit­tee led by Andy Smith, John Cameron and Rob Bar­nett have en­sured that there’s been a steady flow of qual­ity play­ers pass through the club this year.Their col­lec­tive ef­fort has been absolutely first class in 2013 and they de­serve a big pat on the back.

‘‘Their achieve­ments this year is al­ways a mas­sive task liv­ing in our lo­ca­tion and not many peo­ple recog­nise that we are the far most north­ern AFL team on the east coast of Aus­tralia which presents many chal­lenges.

‘‘The se­niors just fell short of the ul­ti­mate goal this year but the flow-on ef­fect of qual­ity play­ers within the club has given the re­serve grade a great op­por­tu­nity to reap back a big re­ward for our sleepy sea­side fish­ing town­ship. Brad and Jim de­serve ev­ery ac­co­lade for forg­ing a very com­pet­i­tive unit this year. Not only has it been the in­ter­state re­cruits in 2013 that have as­sisted the out­come thus far, but it must be em­pha­sised that there is so much lo­cal home grown tal­ent amongst this week­end’s grand fi­nal squad. We are talk­ing about three U/16 play­ers and seven U/18 play­ers cur­rent play­ers al­most cer­tain to make fi­nal team this week­end.

‘‘Young gun names like Marks, Nandy, Edwards, McCul­lough, Evans, Forbes, Lau­ren, Lowe and Bo­him have made this a spe­cial year for the club for their ded­i­cated pro­gres­sion to­wards the game is so en­cour­ag­ing.

‘‘This makes our team by a coun­try mile the youngest ag­gre­gate aged team in the Cairns com­pe­ti­tion this week­end and our me­dian age is only topped up by a cou­ple of old stal­warts in Harry Wilkie and An­drew Ma­cleod who have ser­viced the club with 200 games apiece. No mat­ter the re­sult this week­end there is a lot of credit due to the ju­nior football club led by the leg­endary for­mer player and now Ju­nior Pres­i­dent Rod David­son and the tran­si­tional phase by the se­nior club to in­tro­duce th­ese boys into this next level of their footy ca­reers.’’

‘‘On Mon­day night at the league pre­sen­ta­tions Andy Smith was duly awarded Life Mem­ber­ship into the Cairns AFL, the first ever from the our 25-year his­tory and he ded­i­cated his achieve­ment to his best mate in Ernie Bax­ter.’’

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