Clinical Crocs cruise into another grand final

AFL CAIRNS

Mark Murray

Journalist

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Port Douglas forward Lee Staple leads strongly in Saturday's semi final win over Centrals Trinity Beach. IMAGE: Brett Pascoe Photography.

PORT DOUGLAS held Centrals Trinity Beach to one goal for three quarters en route to a 30-point semi final win in Cairns.

The Crocs had all but booked their grand final spot by three-quarter-time at a windswept Cazalys Stadium before conceding seven goals in the final term.

The turnaround ensured some respectability to the scoreboard for the Bulldogs in an otherwise dominant display by the reigning premier.

The 11.18 (84) to 8.6 (54) triumph confirmed a third grand final in four years for the Crocs as they attempt to claim back-to-back flags for the first time.

“We spoke before the game that we’d put in a lot of hard work to get this opportunity and it was important that we made the most of it today,” Port Douglas coach Brad Cooper said after the match.

"For three quarters of the game we did that.

“Our volunteers and all the people that put into this football club for nothing, they get a lot of joy out of this.”

The Crocs reserves are also through after an impressive win over South Cairns on Saturday, ensuring selection pressure will remain at the club in the lead up to the decider. 

Talented midfielder Mathew Medcraft missed Saturday’s game and will be pushing for a recall, while Sam Scally, Oscar Dodge, Jack Reilly and Gavin Jacks all impressed in the reserves.

“We’ve got six blokes who could easily step up and play (in the seniors),” Cooper said.

“Without getting ahead of ourselves we always forecast every scenario and now that we’ve got both grades through, we’ll put a plan in place.

“I’m pretty big on not letting them have too much of a weekend off, I think you can go to sleep a bit and I’ve seen it happen.

“It has happened a bit up here where the team that has won the semi hasn’t gone on to win the GF.”

The Crocs are likely to play an intra club practice match next Saturday in preparation for the grand final against either the Bulldogs or Manunda Hawks.

Defender Jordan Chapman was a pillar for the Crocs on Saturday with Cole Laurie, Josh Lea and Josh Wilson also impressive. The undefeated Port set the result up with another dominant first term, booting 5.6 to 0.1 to lead by 35-points at the first change.

Cooper admitted his team ‘went to sleep’ in the final quarter, but the damage had been done.

“It was bit of a scrappy game really for four quarters, and especially in the last, but we’ll take that win and definitely improve on today’s effort in two weeks,” Cooper said.

“We went kick chasing a bit in the last and let them run forward of the footy and we didn’t defend well.

“I just think our guys went to sleep a bit and we’ll need to address that.”


AFL CAIRNS – SEMI FINAL
Port Douglas                  5.6      7.9       9.15       11.18 (84)
Centrals Trinity Beach     0.1      1.3       1.3         8.6 (54)

PORT DOUGLAS
GOALS: K. Chapple 3, K. Bradshaw 3, L. Staple, M. Bohm, J. Mawson, S. Gribbon, D. Wearmouth
BEST: J. Chapman, C. Laurie, J. Wilson, J. Lea, S. Gribbon, K. Bradshaw

CENTRALS TRINITY BEACH
GOALS: A. Robins 5, N. McKendrick, M. Culpitt, M. McLachlan
BEST: B. Graham, T. McAuley, H. Nicholson, E. Riddington, C. Adam


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