Craig Crowley will become the first man to have both played and coached 100 games for Southport in the QAFL at Esplen Oval on Sunday.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Southport coach Craig ‘Jack’ Crowley celebrates a significant personal milestone in Sunday’s clash against Morningside at Esplen Oval – his 100th game in charge of the Sharks.

“It means a lot to me because I played 100 games for the club as well,” Crowley aid.

Crowley is the first man to achieve the double feat of having played and coached 100 games for the traditional QAFL powerhouse.

“Being the first to achieve something is always good,” said Crowley, who was also the first Sharks player to register 100 games in the State League back in the 1990s.

He tasted premiership success in his first season at the helm at Fankhauser Reserve in 2006, taking a young side boasting plenty of Gold Coast talent including Kurt Tippett and Brent Renouf to an unlikely grand final success over the Zillmere Eagles.

Another grand final appearance followed in 2007 and a second premiership in 2008.

Nonetheless, Crowley believes he is a better prepared coach now than in his mentoring infancy.

“I’m up to speed a lot more with the personalities of the team,” Crowley said. “Especially having been assistant to Norm Dare before me, I’m trying to think outside the square a bit more.

Crowley said there were a number of games that stick out where he felt his coaching had a significant impact on the result, although there were as many where all the best laid players went awry and ‘you looked like a bit of dill’.

Most satisfying was the 2008 grand final, when the Sharks came from 22 points down 10 minutes into the last quarter to be at arch rivals Morningside, who ironically Crowley celebrates the milestone against.

“We went a bit unconventional and threw (Clint) Watts and (Kevin) Tandogac onto the ball, and Broc McCauley and Ben Merrett had double teamed (Jacob) Gough hoping he would eventually tire,” Crowley said.

“Merrett had a significant impact, hitting (David) Cameron with a pass and goalling from 55m. Gough eventually came off late in the last quarter, although we would have preferred that to happen in the third!”

Crowley admitted it was ironic to be running into the Panthers on Sunday in a huge game for both clubs, with Morningside champion Gough celebrating his 200th game.

“They will be up for Gough’s 200th as they always are, although it doesn’t matter what the respective positions are on the table, these games are always a fairly good tussle,” he said.

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