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