Crocs rule, but take hit
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.
Crocs walk off at half time, comfortably on the way to a record winning margin