Same old AFL Cairns minor premiers — but with a different leading man in 2019.
Same old minor premiers — but with a different leading man in 2019.
For the fifth consecutive campaign, Port Douglas wrapped up the minor premiership for the AFL Cairns season on Saturday afternoon, and in the process ended the season of one of their biggest rivals over the last decade, Cairns Saints.
The Crocs had all but secured first past the post last weekend against South Cairns but a big victory over Saints was a perfect lead-up to the finals series for the hungry Crocs.
And, in doing so, a first-time Matthew Walsh Leading Goal Kicker for the season was crowned, Crocs forward pocket Adam Gross.
In just 14 matches in 2019, the premiership player booted 76 majors, with 16 his most in a game, to win the medal seven goals clear of teammate Kye Chapple, who had a stranglehold on the trophy over the last few seasons.
“It is terrific as he is our raging bull,” Crocs Football Operations Manager Jim Buckley said of Gross.
“He is a class player and I do not think I have seen a player at any level of football with better hands than Adam Gross.
“He is a terrific club man as well and really shares the ball.
“He gives away plenty of goals as well.”
Deep in the right forward pocket early in the second term, Crocs goalsneak Adam went down in serious pain clutching his knee.
Gross, who was the leading goal-kicker in the competition coming into the round, came from the ground and didn’t look likely to return.
RAGING BULL: Port Douglas’ Adam Gross (centre) has emerged as AFL Cairns’ leading goal kicker for the 2019 season with 76 majors from 14 matches. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE.
The serious knee injury lasted all of about two minutes as he was quickly back out there to confirm his goalkicking title for the season.
He finished with three on Saturday and was put on ice for most of the second half.
Gross is the first since Adam Booth in 2011 to win the competition’s goal kicking prize, without cracking the ton in the home and away season, but he may still get there if he gets busy across this finals series.
Manunda forward Booth booted 79 goals in 2011 and Chapple and Saints champion Walsh have dominated since.
The Crocs match committee may have wanted to help out Gross, leaving out forward options Chapple and Ben Johnson from the Round 19 contest, with their ladder position already confirmed.
Saints, playing for their season, started well but as the game flowed on, Port slowly took control and kicked away.
This season is just the second time Saints have missed the finals in almost two decades, with the other occasion coming in 2017.
FINALS WEEK ONE
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Cairns City Lions v Manunda Hawks
Port Douglas v South Cairns — both at Cazalys Stadium