Crocs cautiously optimistic/Newsport

Crocs cautiously optimistic

Thursday February 27th 2014

Forgive Port Douglas head coach Brad Cooper if he's not talking his team up just yet.

A former star for the Crocs, Cooper knows premierships aren't won in February, especially not at his club.

"Yet again we've turned over 50 per cent of our list," the coach says.

With work drying up during the wet season, Cooper says it's nothing unusual to see a bunch of new faces this time of year.

Many recruits, he adds, are still yet to arrive in town.

"We've got eight or nine new guys already here but hopefully another ten or eleven to add to that coming," he says.

The club is also in talks with an additional five other players from 'strong Victorian competitions'.

"That said, nobody counts until they run out on the ground in our jumper," Cooper says.

But the coach says there are encouraging signs with last year's best-and-fairest winner Dylan Wearmouth tearing up the track at training.

"He's super fit, The fittest in our club," Cooper says.

"Josh Lee, a newcomer to the club isn't far behind him and Scotty Roberts has had a fairly solid pre-season."

Promising juniors Michael and Brett McKeown are expected to feature in the senior side more consistently this year.  

Fellow young gun, Ethan McCullough has also played well in Gold Coast Academy trial games and looks to have improved.

"He would be pushing for state selection in the country Kookaburras side," Cooper says.

"He played one senior game last year and we'll be looking to give him every opportunity this year."

One player who won't be playing in round one is star midfielder Kurt Bradshaw.

Cooper says Bradshaw has sustained a shoulder injury and isn't expected to take the field until later in the year.

"He sees a surgeon on Tuesday," he says.

"I believe he'll have to have surgery but hopefully it's a three month injury and we get him mid-season."