RAC­ERS FISH­ING: LAP IT UP TIME TO AT FIRST GET OFF MEET­ING TO A FLIER Crocs find their mojo

Pre­miers ‘wake up’ for 1st win

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT -

CROC (dic­tionary def­i­ni­tion): large aquatic rep­tile; slow­ing mov­ing on land, gnarled with a tough hide; likes to bask in the sun.

Tak­ing this def­i­ni­tion to heart, the Port Dou­glas Crocs took half a game of footy, against the well pre­pared Saints, at Cazaly’s on Satur­day night, to awaken from a pre­sea­son slum­ber.

Still di­gest­ing the fall­out from the ‘fines af­fair’, Brad Cooper’s reign­ing premier­ship team started its ti­tle de­fence as if still wal­low­ing sleep­ily in re­cent glo­ries. Or per­haps still shocked from hav­ing been fi­nan­cially stung by Cairns AFL, the Crocs looked slow and without an ef­fec­tive game plan.

The ab­sence of record goal­kick­ing cap­tain, Kye Chap­ple, among others, ap­peared to leave the Crocs di­rec­tion­less. Waste­ful use of the Sher­rin early led to fre­quent turnovers and this pro­vided the slick Saints with plenty of ball pos­ses­sion.

The nar­row eight point half­time deficit was flat­ter­ing for the Crocs and the dom­i­nant Saints de­served to be fur­ther ahead.

But crocs have tough hides and Cooper’s ap­peal at the long-break for his Crocs to “stop play­ing ‘nice’ and to make the con­test phys­i­cal, had im­me­di­ate im­pact.

Key for­wards Mitch Bohm (three goals) and SANFL re­cruit Lee Sta­ple (two goals) led a stun­ning twelve minute, eight goal, unan­swered thirdquar­ter blitz. When mid­field­ers Dy­lan Wear­mouth, Todd Schap­ter, Peter Bury and Brett McKe­own be­gan to kick long and make the game a tough, one-on-one con­fronta­tion, the tal­ented for­ward duo be­gan to dom­i­nate. The Crocs’ in­tense body pres­sure to­tally in­tim­i­dated the rat­tled Saints.

The run of best-on-ground half­back Jor­dan Chap­man, broke the Saints’ de­fen­sive lines with his ball carry.

Kurt Brad­shaw con­sis­tently won pos­ses­sion across half­for­ward and his three goals were a timely re­minder of the sheer tal­ent pos­sessed by the for­mer best and fairest win­ner.

His ac­cu­rate fin­ish­ing in the greasy con­di­tions was a sign of his ab­so­lute class. Alex Ben­dle con­tin­u­ally stormed through the mid­dle and his ball place­ment (he is a rak­ing kick) set up many scor­ing chances.

Coach Cooper was not at all sat­is­fied with the over­all per­for­mance, apart from the third quar­ter blitz, and recog­nised that off-field dis­trac­tions had played a part in his team’s un­der­whelm­ing ef­fort. But a win’s a win. And th­ese Crocs have tough hides!

Pic­ture: BREN­DAN RADKE

PRES­SURE ON: Crocs for­ward Talon Sexton is forced out of bounds by Saints op­po­nent Chris­tian Philpot at Cazalys last Satur­day evening.

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