Bring it on, say Crocs

Cooper’s new team set to show what they can do

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT - Shane Ni­chols

BRAD Cooper knows this feel­ing.

As the coach of the high fly­ing Port Dou­glas Crocs he’s been here be­fore – the lengthy pre-sea­son, with all the hard yakka of re­build­ing the team, re­cruit­ing new play­ers, find­ing them jobs, set­tling them in . . .

Now the sea­son is start­ing and the time for talk­ing – on the phone – is over and it’s down to the real busi­ness.

“It’s the best part of the year. You’re off the phone and Port Dou­glas Crocs vs Ma­nunda Hawks, Satur­day, April 2 (away game). Seniors: 5 pm Re­serves: 3 pm the ma­jor­ity of the real hard work is done, all that time con­sum­ing work, not just for the coach but the vol­un­teers and the com­mit­tee . . . “Now it’s the busi­ness end.” Start­ing this week­end is the first ros­tered game, no­tably per­haps, against the Ma­nunda Hawks, the team that aroused such con­tro­versy in 2014 for their for­feited game against the Crocs that they were pun­ished by a year’s ejec­tion from the league.

“There’s no anger from us about that,” says Cooper. “We never wanted them kicked out of the com­pe­ti­tion – we thought it weak­ened the comp – but hav­ing said that, you can un­der­stand that I can un­der­stand no one can just dic­tate to the league where and when they play.

“They’ll be a com­pletely dif­fer­ent team and I’d they’ll have peo­ple mak­ing de­ci­sions at their club that aren’t go­ing to put them back in the po­si­tion they found them­selves in, so …

Not for the first time, the Crocs will field at least half a new team – that’s how it is for far north­ern towns, es­pe­cially Port Dou­glas with its highly tran­sient pop­u­la­tion.

“It’s go­ing to take them a pe­riod of time to ad­just to our game plan,” Cooper said, “it’s just a mat­ter of work­ing to get to that point as soon as we can.

“As I said to them just now, we have to grow with ev­ery train­ing ses­sion, ev­ery game.”

In train­ing this week Cooper spoke to the team about com­mit­ment, be­hav­iour and club cul­ture. “There build­ing blocks you have to pout in place for any team,” he tells the

“It’s the same for any team, what­ever sport it is.”

As it hap­pens, the re­cruit­ing process has turned up a cou­ple of ex­tra tall play­ers for the squad this year, which is def­i­nitely a plus and gives Cooper more op­tions.

“We do have very healthy stock to put pres­sure on through our spine – our taller guys, so good po­si­tion for us to be in.”

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Port Dou­glas Crocs squad 2016

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