Crocs rule, but take hit

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT -

THE Port Dou­glas Crocs’ mas­sive 282-point win over an un­der­manned Cairns City Lions last Satur­day was soured by the po­ten­tially sea­son-end­ing in­jury to star de­fender, Alex Ben­dle. The mood in the Crocs’ room af­ter the game was rel­a­tively sub­dued, de­spite the Crocs hav­ing achieved a record high score and win­ning mar­gin, as the re­al­ity of Ben­dle’s knee in­jury was re­vealed.

The loss of Ben­dle, who has pre­vi­ously suf­fered se­ri­ous leg in­juries, cer­tainly damp­ened the spir­its of his team­mates who were set to cel­e­brate the Crocs’ club record achieve­ment. He will have scans on Fri­day to de­ter­mine his im­me­di­ate play­ing fu­ture.

The game started with the brave Lions field­ing a de­pleted line-up. This was ex­pected as the club has faced ex­tra­or­di­nary chal­lenges this sea­son; a coach­ing up­heaval at the start of the year led to a mass player exit and the Lions’ ad­min­is­tra­tion have gone about man­ag­ing its cur­rent cri­sis in a most pro­fes­sional man­ner.

The Lions are on a hid­ingto-noth­ing each week, but con­tinue to field a team, know­ing it will cop a drub­bing. It is a proud club and there will be no eu­lo­gies be­cause the Lions are al­ready plot­ting a re­demp­tion in 2018!

How­ever, Brad Cooper’s Crocs were in a mer­ci­less mood as they pre­pared to meet se­ri­ous op­po­si­tion in the com­ing weeks.

Kye Chap­ple booted a ca­sual 14 goals, but stated af­ter the game that the plight of the Lions and the dom­i­nance of the Crocs’ mid­field­ers, were the sig­nif­i­cant fac­tors in this achieve­ment.

Jesse Maw­son’s 9 goals were also a re­sult of the over­all su­pe­ri­or­ity of his Crocs’ team­mates around the ground and this was no bet­ter ex­em­pli­fied than by the com­plete dom­i­nance of at­tack­ing de­fend­ers Wes Glass, Cole Lau­rie, Jor­dan Chap­man and Johnathon Hobbs.

With their fe­ro­cious at­tack on the footy, hard-nuts Todd Schap­ter, Peter Bury and Jack Ri­ley over­whelmed the lighter framed Lions. Young ruck­man, Nick Good­man, pro­vided plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for his run­ning smalls who dom­i­nated the cen­tre clear­ances. Matty Med­craft’s 5 goals high­lighted his value as a small for­ward, and with Adam Gross kick­ing a an­other bag of 4, the Crocs strolled to an ef­fort­less win.

While the Crocs’ fans were rap­tur­ous in their ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the home-sides’ per­for­mance, there was a gen­uine ac­knowl­edg­ment that the coura­geous Lions de­serve the re­spect of the en­tire AFL Cairns com­mu­nity for bravely fronting up and hav­ing a real crack, de­spite the in­evitabil­ity of the outcome.

Cooper’s boys face the tal­ented South Cairns Cut­ters on Satur­day in a re­match of last sea­son’s grand fi­nal. The Cut­ters will hit hard and apol­o­gise later.

Best play­ers: Todd Schap­ter, Kye Chap­ple, Wes Glass, Matty Med­craft, Cole Lau­rie and Nick Good­man.

Goal­kick­ers: Kye Chap­ple 14, Jesse Maw­son 9, Matty Med­craft 5, Adam Gross 4, Todd Schap­ter 4.

Pic­ture: LUKAS TEASDALE

Crocs walk off at half time, com­fort­ably on the way to a record win­ning mar­gin

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