Team pleads for lo­cal sup­port against Wild­cats

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport - by Andrew Aloia andrew. aloia@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

IT was a show be­fore.

When more than 4000 Townsville Croc­o­diles fans willed their side to vic­tory over Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League mi­nor-premiers New Zealand, they touched their on-court heroes deeply.

Point guard Nathan Cross­well was first to ex­press his thanks and make an im­pas­sioned plea for more of the

of

faith

like never same to­mor­row via the Townsville Bul­letin’s text the edi­tor page.

‘‘ Just a quick text to all the Croc fans who have been awe­some sup­port­ing us over the last month. Please come out and help us on Fri­day ( to­mor­row) night against the Wild­cats, sec­ond place is up for grabs,’’ the 31-year-old vet­eran wrote.

His shout out was fol­lowed by cap­tain Rus­sell Hin­der yes­ter­day, with the for­ward keenly talk­ing up the emo­tional bond the team has de­vel­oped with rep­tile faith­ful.

When the go­ing got tough against the Break­ers, trail­ing by as many as 15 points and strug­gling to con­tain a side that was shoot­ing at 93 per­cent from the field, Hin­der knew there was sup­port in num­bers to turn the mo­men­tum around.

‘‘ We have al­ways said that is one of the smartest crowds in the league,’’ Hin­der said. ‘‘ I’ve been at a lot of places where the team is down ( by) two at the half and they get booed. Here they saw we were mak­ing a fight and giv­ing ev­ery­thing we had, work- ing our tails off and they showed their ap­pre­ci­a­tion ac­cord­ingly and that gave us a lift at the half.

‘‘ We, from the bot­tom of our hearts, ap­pre­ci­ate ev­ery­thing they do for us.’’

And it’s not just what they did to lift the Crocs on one night that the team holds dear, but for what part they could po­ten­tially play in a cham­pi­onship. ‘‘ You can tell these guys re­ally care about the Croc­o­diles and what we are try­ing to do and that they will be com­ing with us any­where we go,’’ Hin­der said.

Ian Thorpe

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