Crocs see off ‘Dogs
Tougher encounter but Crocs rule
COOPER’S Crocs survived a torrid confrontation at the Kennel last Saturday with the Bulldogs confirming that the race for the 2017 premiership is still alive.
The Crocs remain undefeated but the Trinity Beach side had every right to claim bragging-rights on the day as the home team pressured and harassed the Port boys at every contest.
Despite missing three star players, the Bulldogs were always within striking distance and will take heart from the close encounter with the reigning premier.
The physical nature of the contest is the template by which opposition sides will construct game plans to try to unsettle the Crocs come the finals.
The Port Douglas visitors extended a six-point quartertime lead to 24 points by halftime, but this margin did not accurately indicate the narrow gap between the teams in general play.
With Mitch Bohm winning his share of the ruck contests against bigger and stronger opponents, on-ballers Peter Bury, Matty Medcraft and Dylan Wearmouth were able to win enough of the Sherrin to supply creative forwards Kye Chapple and Daniel Young with goal-scoring chances.
The power-backs, Declan Kelly and Jono Hobbs, were outstanding as they repelled many of the Dogs’ forward entries.
Swing-players Troy Lehman, Josh Lea and Tommy Goodall all won plenty of hardball-gets and were well supported by the strong body work of lively small-forwards Jesse Mawson and Adam Gross.
The Crocs went into the final-quarter with an 18-point advantage having been forcefully reminded by coach Cooper the upbeat Doggies were about to seriously challenge. A slice of Chapple magic, from a bullocking Bury clearance, resulted in an early Port goal and this appeared to sap the emotional energy of the Bulldogs.
The Crocs took command in the latter stages to remain unbeaten, but Cooper was quick to announce after the game that the final 46 point margin was inflated. He fully acknowledged the quality of the home-team and earmarked the Bulldogs as worthy number-one-contenders for this season’s title.
Physical contest: The Crocs’ Angus Dickson clashes with a Bulldogs player