Crocs hit reset button ahead of bumper final


Mark Murray


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Star Port Douglas midfielder Pete Bury is under an injury cloud heading into tomorrow's semi final clash with Centrals. IMAGE: Brett Pascoe Photography.

PORT Douglas has hit the reset button heading into its semi-final clash with Central Trinity Beach tomorrow at Cazalys Stadium.

The Crocs completed one of the most dominant home-and-away seasons in recent memory last weekend and are on the cusp of completing back-to-back flags for the first time in the club’s history.

Yet you won’t find coach Brad Cooper patting anyone on the back.

“Being undefeated literally means nothing to me,” Cooper told Newsport.

“We don’t celebrate it. I couldn’t care less about it. Football is different from a lot of other sports and it’s all about finals.

“Home-and-away doesn’t count for much and has just given us an opportunity. It’s up to the boys now to get out there on Saturday at 3.30pm and do their thing.”

The Crocs finished with their third straight AFL Cairns minor premiership and enter tomorrow’s clash with the Bulldogs a white-hot favourite. Despite their dominance, Cooper said it had been his ‘hardest year’ as a coach.

“That may sound a bit silly but it definitely is, the season is like a roller coaster and you have a couple of good, hard games and then you’re playing a couple of the bottom sides and the gap is pretty big,” he said.

“From that point of view it has been hard to get a few of the senior boys going, the younger guys not so much because they're learning all the time."

The Bulldogs are coming off a bye and remain the only side to truly worry the Crocs in 2017. They went down by 13 points at Crathern Park in round nine and have earned the respect of the reigning premier.

“Their best is definitely good enough,” Cooper said.

"They probably should have beaten us in the mid-section of the season, a couple of things went our way in the last quarter that got us over the line.

“They’ve got good depth and have stars on every line. We’re expecting an intense battle, you’re playing for keeps.”

Star midfielder Peter Bury has been named for the Crocs despite battling a hand injury.

The Port Douglas reserves are also in the finals and face South Cairns tomorrow from 11am, adding to the club's riches of depth this September.

“It’s a great time of year and it has taken a lot of work to get here," Cooper said.

“We’ve got a double chance, along with one other side, but aside from that it’s an even comp in terms of what’s at stake and what you’ve got to do.”

Saturday 2 September, 3.30pm
Port Douglas v Centrals Trinity Beach
Cazalys Stadium, Cairns


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