MANUNDA HAWKS PUSH CROCS
But the hunters are now the hunted, says coach
WHEN coach Brad Cooper warned his side that this season the Crocs, as reigning premiers, would be hunted by the good opposition teams, he pondered how long it would take for his players to take him seriously.
After last Saturday night at Cazaly’s Stadium against Manunda Hawks this reality should be embedded in the mind of every Croc.
The well-drilled Hawks employed a fast running, quickball-movement game plan that meant the Crocs were challenged from the start. The Hawks ran the ball out of defence and dominated the early mid-field contests.
The Crocs’ attacking forays were often stunted and the tendency for the Crocs’ on-ballers to miss targets allowed the Hawks to rebound with ease.
Dominating the centre contests, the Hawks deserved to be ahead at the main break, but their lack of a key forward meant the Crocs managed to scrounge a narrow 7 point lead.
Refusing to accept the unavailability of six star players as an excuse for the Crocs’ mediocre performance, a concerned Cooper targeted the Crocs’ mids and demanded that they be accountable for an opponent when the Hawks had possession.
The quality of the Hawks’ squad was on display and Cooper was quick to identify positions where his Crocs were being out-played. The secondhalf was a further arm-wrestle with the gallant Crocs’ defence, led by Declan Kelly, Sam Scally and Gavin Jacks, under constant pressure.
The narrow margin remained until the last quarter andwhen finally the Crocs established dominance over the tiring but much improved Hawks.
As Cooper’s side must surely now know, it will be a challenging year for the Crocs as the good teams plot to take the title from them. For season 2017 the hunters have become the hunted.
The final score of Crocs 14-10-94 to Manunda Hawks 9-8-62 flattered the Port Douglas boys.
Crocs’ Matt Metcraft under pressure