Hip- pocket hit for squad as NBL title race gets serious
UNREPLACEABLE: Injured Crocodile Brad Williamson won’t be replaced for the crucial clash with the Tigers in Melbourne THE penny-pinching Crocodiles could lose more than they save when Townsville travels light to Melbourne today.
While Crocs chief executive Ian Smythe admitted a shock decision to suit up only nine players for the crucial meeting with the Tigers was made on f i nancial grounds, he strenuously denied not replacing injured Brad Williamson would be to the detriment of the team’s fortunes.
The Crocs will save $ 2000 as a result of their decision, but it’s a call which could cost them as much as two home finals and the massive payday that comes with it. Townsville need to win both of their remaining away games to secure second place and the advantage in the three-game semifinal series.
‘‘ It’s disappointing that we can’t throw our full resources to challenge for that second spot, but I know the guys will fight tooth and nail this weekend,’’ coach Trevor Gleeson said.
Smythe, however, said it was more than just a decision based on dollars and cents.
‘‘ It’s not a knee-jerk financial reaction. We looked at the statistics, looked at and balanced what the facts are,’’ Smythe said.
‘‘ Come the end of the season we try to make sure that we haven’t placed an unnecessary financial burden on the club.
‘‘ We ( the recruitment and retention committee) don’t t hink we are disadvantaging the team by taking this decision.’’
Townsville have lost the services of seasoned campaigner Williamson for at least two weeks after he fractured his hand on Tuesday in a collision with Rosell Ellis.
At the same time, Todd Blanchfield was yesterday cleared to play his first game in a month, having passed a rigorous training test under the watchful eye of assistant coach Paul Woolpert.
Still, there are concerns about how many minutes the teenager is capable of playing since he only returned to training duties on Monday.
Development player Chris Cedar