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Crocs History 1998 – now

It was a very different team that took the court in the 1998/99 season. The team had been involved in a dispute with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, who held the “Suns” trademark in Australia.

Faced with the prospect of paying Phoenix royalties on merchandise sales, the team changed its name to the Townsville Crocodiles. New head coach Ian Stacker took the reins, and immediately attracted top-name talent like Australian Olympic player Sam Mackinnon, but it would take one more season before Townsville’s long-suffering fans saw playoff basketball.

The NBL changed from playing a winter season to a Summer Season, distancing the competition from the football codes.

1998/99 – Townsville Crocodiles98-99

12 & 14 7th – Missed Playoffs

5 James Harper

6 Sam Mackinnon

8 Michael Pennisi

10 Clinton Fox

11 Jason Cameron

14 Brad Davidson

21 Robert Rose © (MVP)

42 Simon Kerle

51 Grant Kruger

52 David Pennisi

Coach: Ian Stacker

Ast: Shane Froling & Andrej Lemanis

Interesting Facts:

The promise of being able to recruit players like Sam Mackinnon and Robert Rose was the main reason Ian Stacker was appointed as Head Coach.

This was the year that Rose begun his stellar career in Townsville where he would go on to play the most amount of games for the franchise (258), points (4406), assists (1266), blocks (128), steals (364), rebounds (1600)… pretty much every statistical category!

Simon Kerle posed nude for a mens magazine, which was not looked upon in a good light by management. Kerle left after this season and finished his career in Brisbane.  He is 8th on the list of players who have played the most games in NBL history without winning a championship.

This was the final year with the franchise by Jason Cameron.  A Mackay local, Cameron had played 177 games out of a possible 190 since the Suns came into the league in 1993.

James Harper will be remebered most for his free throw percentage.  Most of the crowd looked away when he went to the FT line.  He shot his free throws at 43%.

Ian Stacker was named as coach of the month of January.

After leaving the club in hope to win a championship, Derek Rucker returned as a West Sydney Razorback.  Townsville fans did not forget the heading on the front page of the Townsville Bulletin when he left: ‘So Long Losers’.  Rucker was booed every time he touched the ball but had the last laugh as the new franchise won with a John Rillie 3 pointer on the buzzer.  Rucker threw the ball into the crowd and insensed the fans.  The Croc had brought a live pig on the court during a timeout with a number 5 painted on the side. 🙂

Rucker finished his career in 3rd all time in most games without winning a championship (411).

1999/2000 – Townsville Crocodiles

99-0022 & 6 2nd – Lost Semi Final

6 Sam Mackinnon (co MVP)

8 Peter Crawford

14 Brad Davidson

15 Chris Novak

21 Robert Rose © (co MVP)

22 Pat Reidy

25 Mark Ferguson

33 Ben Knight

35 Andrew Goodwin

44 Mike Kelly

Coach: Ian Stacker

Ast: Shane Froling & Andrej Lemanis

Interesting Facts:

This was easily the best recruiting effort by the franchise, gaining Boomer, Pat Reidy, 1996 Grand Final MVP & defensive specialist, Mike Kelly, veteran Andrew Goodwin and youngster, Ben Knight.  Adding to that were 3 local juniors, Mark Ferguson, Chris Novak and Peter Crawford.

The team went on a record 9 game away winning streak between 17/12/99 and 11/03/00.

Townsville finally made the playoffs after 7 years previous missing out including a wooden spoon.  The team went on a parade through the city on the back of Harley Davidson’s and were the toast of Townsville.

The Crocs finished equal top of the ladder in a 3 way tie with Adelaide and Perth on 22 & 6.  We were awarded 2nd after a countback, which meant we were awarded a first round bye, then home court advantage in the 3 game semi final against Perth.

Perth Wildcats d. Townsville Crocodiles 2-1 (104-101; 78-101; 104-84).

Ian Stacker was named Coach of the Year and of the month of October.  Sam Mackinnon was named in the All NBL Team as well as being named Player of the Month of November.  Ben Knight was awarded the 6th Man of the Year and Andrew Goodwin was named Most Improved Player.

Goodwin holds the dubious honour of playing the most games in NBL history without winning an NBL Championship (431). He is 2nd all time in games played for Townsville (191) and 3rd in scoring (2930).  5 former Townsville players are in the top 10 in this category; Goodwin, Derek Rucker (411), Brad Davidson (393), Ben Pepper (384) & Simon Kerle (381).

2000/2001 – Townsville Crocodiles

22 & 6 2nd – Lost Grand Final

6 Sam Mackinnon

8 Peter Crawford

14 Brad Davidson

15 Chris Novak

20 Shaun Cavanaugh

21 Robert Rose © (MVP)

22 Pat Reidy

25 Mark Ferguson

34 DuJuan Wiley

35 Andrew Goodwin

40 David Hinton

44 Mike Kelly

52 David Pennisi

Coach: Ian Stacker

Ast Shane Froling & Andrej Lemanis

 

Interesting Facts:

The Crocs set a record home winning streak of 12 between the 19/01/01 and 28/04/01 and a 11 game winning streak between 27/01/01 – 30/03/01 .

DuJuan Wiley was sent home for indisgretions after a game in Cairns and was replaced by David Hinton.

Sam Mackinnon only played 16 games due to deep bone bruising in his knee and did not play for the Crocodiles again.  The Crocs were written off at that point with the first game in Sam’s abscence coming against the Adelaide 36ers.  It was a barn stormer! Andrew Goowin had 40 and Brett Maher also had 40 (his career high), with the Crocs winning in overtime, without Mackinnon, Wiley & Hinton who was not cleared to play.

The Crocs notched up their biggest victory of all time against Brisbane on the 16th of March.  The final margin was a whopping 63 points.

Rose was named the NBL MVP, All NBL First team, Player of the Month for January & March. Ian Stacker was the Coach of the Month for both February and March.  No one will ever forget the buzzer beating 3 pointer Rose hit against Sydney on the 23rd of March 2001.

Townsville once again finished equal first on the ladder, only to be demoted to 2nd by way of count back with the Victoria Titans (22 & 6).

After a disgraceful 28 point loss in the first game, the Crocs beat the 5th placed Sydney Kings in the first round 2-1.

Townsville Crocodiles d. Sydney Kings 2-1 (109-127; 121-113; 122-114)

The Titans were beaten in the first round by the Adelaide 36ers and once again the Crocs had to come from 1 game down against a very well coached and talented Victorian team to win 2-1.

Townsville Crocodiles d. Victoria Titans 2-1 (97-106; 98-82; 101-97)

Wollongong beat Adelaide in the Semi Final on a dubious foul and unbelieveable free throw by Damon Lowery.  Townsville had home court advantage in the finals series which was the first time a NSW team had been in a final and the first time 2 regional teams had met in such a game.

Game 1: Wollongong Hawks 104 defeated Townsville Crocodiles 101 at Wollongong Ent. Centre

Game 2: Townsville Crocodiles 114 defeated Wollongong Hawks 97 at Townsville Ent. Centre

Game 3: Wollongong Hawks 97 defeated Townsville Crocodiles 94 at Townsville Ent. CentreRobert Rose Grand Final Series

2001/2002 – Townsville Crocodiles

13 & 17 9th – Missed Playoffs

4 Graeme Dann

5 Shawn Harvey

8 Peter Crawford

10 Kelvin Robertson

12 Andrew Rice

14 Brad Davidson

15 Andrew Looke/Murdock

21 Robert Rose © (MVP)

22 Pat Reidy

32 Ray Owes

35 Andrew Goodwin

44 Mike Kelly

Coach: Ian Stacker

Ast: Shane Froling & Andrej Lemanis

Interesting Facts:

It was a very disappointing year following our maiden Finals appearance the year before.  We did not make the playoffs.

Ray Owes was recalled to the franchise after playing in the 1998 season with the Suns.  His last game was somewhat of a highlight; he was ejected for dissent towards a referee.

Shawn Harvey was brought into the team to replace Owes.

Andrew Looke joined the team from Brisbane and later changed his name to his mother’s maiden name, Murdock.

Kelvin Robertson, a local legend, played his first game in the NBL and only game of the season against the Cairns Taipans. He had to wear number 10 and Graeme Dann wore number 4.  Kelvin is now up to 252 for the Crocs, just 6 behind Rob Rose.

2002/2003 – Townsville Crocodiles

19 & 11 3rd – Lost Semi Final

4 Graeme Dann

5 Wayne Turner (co MVP)

8 Peter Crawford

9 Graeme Anstey

10 Kelvin Robertson

12 Andrew Rice

15 Andrew Looke/Murdock

21 Robert Rose ©

22 Pat Reidy (co MVP)

25 Mark Ferguson

30 Adonis Jordan

35 Andrew Goodwin

44 Mike Kelly

Coach: Ian Stacker

Ast: Shane Froling & Andrej Lemanis

Interesting Facts:

University of Kentucky legend, Wayne Turner, was NCAA’s all time leader in games played in Division 1, twice appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  He was the catalyst for another trip to the Semi Finals after finishing 3rd after the regular season. Turner was injured for the first 4 games and was replaced by Adonis Jordan.

Jordan holds the 3rd longest break between NBL gigs (2554 days). He was a star for the University of Kansas before being drafted by Seattle in 1993 and found his way to the South East Melbourne Magic under Brian Goorjian in 1994 and 1995. After playing elsewhere around the world, including some time in the NBA, Jordan found his way back in Townsville for the start of the 2003 season near on 7 years later.

The Crocs went on an amazing run of 16 straight wins (including 10 at home) bewteen the 14th of December 2002 until the 1st of March 2003.  All players and coaches made a pact to not shave their beards after starting the season 3-11.

The Wollongong Hawks were quickly becoming the Crocs bogey team, breaking the 16 game streak in the first game of the playoffs and won the series 2 nil.

Wollongong Hawks d. Townsville Crocodiles 2-0 (97-87; 102-101).

The Crocs then had to take on the minor premiers, Sydney, in the Semi Finals.  The Crocs lost the first game by 23 but turned it around in the 2nd game, holding the high scoring Kings to just 91 in a 24 point win.

Sydney Kings d. Townsville Crocodiles 2-1 (124-107; 91-113; 114-99)

Stacker was named Coach of the Year after collecting the monthly award in December, January and February.

2003/2004 – Townsville Crocodiles

13 & 20 9th – Missed Playoffs

4 Kelvin Robertson

6 Jeremy Veal

8 Peter Crawford

9 Rueben Nembhard

10 Cameron Tragardh

13 Greg Vanderjagt

21 Robert Rose ©

22 Pat Reidy (MVP)

25 Mark Ferguson

30 Troy Turner

35 Andrew Goodwin

42 Carlos Daniel

44 Mike Kelly

45 Grant Kruger

Coach: Ian Stacker

Ast: Shane Froling & Andrej Lemanis

 

Interesting Facts:

In another disappointing year, the Crocs failed to make the Playoffs after experiencing import troubles. Carlos Daniel was sacked first after a bad start to the season, the Stacker admitted he cut the wrong import as Jeremy Veal did not fit into the team’s chemistry.

Carlos Daniel has gone on to be the Strength & Conditioning coach for both the San Antonia Spurs & more recently with the New Orleans Pelicans.

 

Grant Kruger was re-signed after retiring from the league and playing for the local ABA team. Rueben Nembhard was brought in for 12 games and no one will ever forget his ugly jump shot.  He shot just 53% from the FT line.

There was somewhat of a clean out after this season with popular players Mike Kelly, Andrew Goodwin & local Peter Crawford not resigned.

Rob Rose was named to the East All Star Team, scoring 12 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. The game was played in Melbourne.

2004/2005 – Townsville Crocodiles

19 & 13 3rd – Lost Semi Finals

4 Kelvin Robertson

5 Rob Brown

10 Cameron Tragardh

13 Greg Vanderjagt

15 Adam Quick

20 Brad Newley

21 Robert Rose ©

22 Pat Reidy

30 Troy Turner

31 John Rillie (MVP)

34 Casey Calvary

41 Derek Moore

Coach: Ian Stacker

Ast: Scott Ninnis & Andrej Lemanis

Interesting Facts:

Adelaide youngster Brad Newley was signed along with proven game winner, John Rillie, University of Portland alum and Melbourne native, Adam Quick and 2 explosive imports, Rob Brown and Casey Calvary.

Newley grew 2 inches during the season and took the NBL by storm.  He took out the 6th man of the Year, Rookie of the Year & All Star MVP Trophy.  Newley scored 35 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished off 7 assists.

Rob Brown won the Slam Dunk Contest at the All Star game with some amazing dunks in front of his how crowd.  He was well known during his season in the NBL for screaming after each dunk.  He is now playing on the And 1 World Tour as ‘Wolverine’.Robert Brown

Brown, John Rillie and Casey Calvary also played in the All Star Game.  Rillie almost had a triple double with 23 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds. Brown led the ‘World’ Team with 31 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

Rillie and Calvary are both Gonzaga University alumni and were 2 of the best ever along with NBA players John Stockton, Ronny Turiaf, Adam Morrison & Dan Dickau.

Derek Moore was signed to replace an injured Pat Reidy and was a dominant force in the paint, blocking 2.5 shots per game in his 17 games.

John Rillie won the Player of the Month for both November and January.  Ian Stacker won the Coach of the Month fot January and February.

The Crocs finished the regular season 3rd and faced the Melbourne Tigers in the Quarter Finals; a one game elimination.

Townsville Crocodiles d. Melbourne Tigers 1-0 (112-100)

Again Wollongong proved to be our down fall, losing in the Semi Finals 2-0.

Wollongong Hawks d. Townsville Crocodiles 2-0 (100-84; 109-105)

 

2005/2006 – Townsville Crocodiles

9 & 23 10th – Missed Playoffs

4 Kelvin Robertrson

9 Damon Lowery

10 Cameron Tragardh

13 Greg Vanderjagt

20 Brad Newley

21 Rob Rose

24 Michael Cedar

30 John Shepherd

31 John Rillie

33 Larry Abney (MVP) – IMPORT

34 Casey Calvary – IMPORT

Coach: Ian Stacker

Ast: Scott Ninnis & Andrej Lemanis

Interesting Facts:

In another season that the Crocs were supposed to take the next step, we crumbled to second last.  It was to be Ian Stacker’s last season as head coach after 8 seasons.

Rob Brown was replaced by Marcus Fleming, but unfortunately when he arrived, he had a pre-existing knee injury, which meant he was flown home.  Our second choice proved to be a master stroke… Larry ‘The Birdman’ Abney!Larry Abney

He was named in the All NBL Team and played in the ‘World’ All Star team, hitting 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.  The Birdman led the league in rebounding with 11.3 and scored over 20 points per game.

Former Adelaide 36ers and SE Melbourne Magic guard, Scott Ninnis was signed as Assistant Coach.  Another local boy, Michael Cedar, was signed to the team, along with Damon Lowery… does anyone know why we signed him?

2006/2007 – Townsville Crocodiles

19 & 14 5th – Lost Quarter Final

4 Kelvin Robertson

6 Drew Williamson

9 Andrew Rice

12 Daniel Egan

13 Greg Vanderjagt

20 Brad Newley

22 EJ Rowland – IMPORT

24 Michael Cedar

30 Blair Smith

31 John Rillie © (co MVP)

32 Jelani Gardner – IMPORT

33 Larry Abney (co MVP) – IMPORT

Coach: Trevor Gleeson

Ast: Lyndon Brieffies & Rohan Short

 

Interesting Facts:

Trevor Gleeson was signed to the Crocs after a stint as an assistant with Brisbane, the Head Coach in Korea and the US and as a scout in the NBA.

Assistant coach Lyndon Brieffies returned to Townsville after playing for the Suns in the State League in 1988 and for the Brisbane Bullets in the first ever game in the Townsville Entertainment Centre in 1993.  He scored 1 point.

Rob Rose was not re-signed to the team, must to the disgust of many fans and at the age of 42, he signed with arch rivals, the Cairns Taipans. Rose played 2 games in the NBA for the LA Clippers in he 88/89 season, won NBL MVP’s in 1993 & 2001 and was named in the NBL’s 25th Anniversary Team.

Jelani Gardner only played 14 games before being replaced by EJ Rowland.  EJ played the first 12 games of the season for the Sydney Kings.

Rowland, who starred at Saint Mary’s College, was a revelation for the team, igniting the team’s running game and hitting, open shooters like newly named captain, John ‘The Real Deal’ Rillie.  EJ now plays for the Bulgarian National Team.

Larry Abney dubbed himself as ‘The Birdman’ and after an emphatic dunk, would do his birdman signal to the crowd.  After the 2006/07 season, he flew the coop and landed in Taipans colours.

Brad Newley was named to the All Star Game in Adelaide.

2007/2008 – Townsville Crocodiles

 

17 & 13 5th – Lost Quarter Final

1 Galen Young – IMPORT

3 Brad Sheridan

4 Kelvin Robertson

5 Chris Cedar

6 Drew Williamson

8 Corey ‘Homicide’ Williams – IMPORT

12 Daniel Egan

13 Greg Vanderjagt

24 Michael Cedar

31 John Rillie © (MVP)

32 Ben Pepper

42 Anthony Stewart

75 Rosell Ellis – IMPORT

Coach: Trevor Gleeson

Ast: Lyndon Brieffies & Rohan Short

Interesting Facts:

The club brought in import Rosell Ellis from the South Dragons to play the four spot.  In his first two games, he averaged 28.5 points and looked like he was going to be a great pickup for the Crocs.  However during a weight session, Ellis tore his pectoral muscle and was ruled out for the season.

The Townsville Crocodiles went with a tall guard in Galen Young.  Young was seen as a forward who could play point guard however when he arrived, the club realised he couldn’t play the guard role.

When Ellis was ruled out for the season, the club went and signed Corey ‘Homicide’ Williams.  ‘Homicide’ was a fan favourite with the Crocs members with his playing ability and personality on and off the court.

With Homicide in, the club shifted Young to the point forward spot where he became known as a tough defender.

Ben Pepper also joined the club for one season.  Ben Pepper is 2nd on the all time list for Most NBL games without 3-point make behind the Melbourne Tigers Forward, Warrick Giddey (449 games -0/21).  Pepper played 384 NBL games and went 0/6.

2008/2009 – Townsville Crocodiles

17 & 13 5th – Lost Semi Finals

3 Chris Cedar

4 Kelvin Roberston

6 Cameron Tovey

8 Corey ‘Homicide’ Williams (MVP) – IMPORT

9 Steven Costanzo

10 Russell Hinder

12 Daniel Egan

24 Michael Cedar

31 John Rillie

33 Anthony Susnjara

42 Keegan Tudehope

43 Brad Williamson

75 Rosell Ellis – IMPORT

Coach: Trevor Gleeson

Ast: Lyndon Brieffies & Rohan Short

Interesting Facts:

The club had injuries galore prior to tip off.  Brad Sheridan (ankles), Ben Pepper (personal reasons) and Steven Broom (shoulder) had all left the Crocs before the season began.  The club did bring in local Steve Costanzo however he only lasted one game before injuring himself.

The Crocs were however able to re-sign Rosell Ellis after spending the majority of the previous season on the sideline injured.

Despite the setbacks, the Crocs went onto have a great season making the playoffs.  However it wasn’t until the Crocs played in the quarter finals against the Perth Wildcats at Challenge Stadium.  That game was one of the most memorable games the club has played.  It was known as the John Rillie show as he finished with 10 three pointers which is an NBL Finals record.  The game was also well known for what Corey Williams did at the end of the game.

Williams finished the game with a dunk giving the Crocs victory.  Williams then took off his shirt and started to run around the court yelling out ‘CROC NATION’ to the disgust of fans.

2009/2010 – Townsville Crocodiles

16 & 12 3rd – Lost Semi Finals

2 Rolan Roberts – IMPORT

3 Chris Cedar

4 Kelvin Robertson

5 Jeff Dowdell

6 Cameron Tovey

8 Corey ‘Homicide’ Williams (MVP) – IMPORT

10 Russell Hinder ©

17 Peter Crawford

24 Michael Cedar

33 Stephen Hoare

40 Keegan Tudehope

43 Brad Williamson

Coach: Trevor Gleeson

Assts: Lyndon Brieffies & Rohan Short

Interesting Facts:

The club wanted to go younger for the 2009/10 season which saw club favourites John Rillie and Daniel Egan released from the club.  Many were surprised the club were letting go Rillie after his playoff performance from the previous season.

However the the season belonged to ‘Homicide’ as he went on to average 18.4 points and 4.8 rebounds a game while shooting 50% from the field.  This earned Corey Williams the NBL Most Valuable Player Award which made him only the second Crocs player to win the award after Robert Rose.

Halfway through the season, local Kelvin Robertson done his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee which ruled him out for the rest of the season.

This was also the debut season for Todd Blanchfield.  A Mackay product, Blanchfield went on to play 150 games.

2010/2011 – Townsville Crocodiles

17 & 11 2nd – Lost Semi Finals

3 Chris Cedar

5 Luke Schenscher (MVP)

10 Russell Hinder ©

11 Will Blalock – IMPORT

17 Peter Crawford

18 Todd Blanchfiled

23 Nathan Crosswell

24 Michael Cedar

25 Gabe Freeman – IMPORT

41 Ben Allen

43 Brad Williamson

75 Rosell Ellis – IMPORT

Coach: Trevor Gleeson

Assts: Pat Reidy, Liam Flynn & Paul Woolpert

Interesting Facts:

To the disgust of fans around Townsville, with reigning NBL MVP Corey Williams let go by the Crocs.  He was however later picked up by the Melbourne Tigers.

The club brought in former NBA players Will Blalock and Luke Schenscher while local Peter Crawford returned to the Crocs after spending the past 5 seasons in Perth.

Gabe Freeman was the second import who would be a great fit for the Crocs.  However Freeman never got going and left halfway through the season to be replaced by former Crocs import Rosell Ellis.

Luke Schenscher was a vital player along with Peter Crawford in the clubs success throughout the season.  The club finished second in the regular season which saw them go up against rivals the Cairns Taipans.  Even with home court advantage, it was Cairns who came away winners winning the series 2-1 to head to the Grand Final where they went down to the New Zealand Breakers.

2011/2012 – Townsville Crocodiles

15 & 13 4th – Lost Semi Finals

1 Elvin Mims – IMPORT

3 Chris Cedar

5 Luke Schenscher

6 Mitch Norton

8 Eddie Gill – IMPORT

10 Russell Hinder ©

12 Todd Blanchfield

17 Peter Crawford (MVP)

24 Michael Cedar ©

31 Jacob Holmes

41 Ben Allen

42 Keegan Tudehope

Coach: Paul Woolpert

Assts: Liam Flynn, Rodney Anderson & Matt Johnston

Interesting Facts:

After the 2010/11 season, the club lost head coach Trevor Gleeson to the Melbourne Tigers, he was replaced by assistant coach Paul Woolpert.  Woolpert had experience in the NBA working with the Seattle Supersonics.

The injury toll had hit the Crocs just weeks before the first NBL game.  In the final NBL Blitz game, captain Russell Hinder broke his leg which ruled him out for the entire season.  Also reigning club MVP Luke Schenscher had to go under hip surgery which ruled him out for the first third of the season.

The club brought in Greg Vanderjagt and Jacob Holmes as replacements.  Holmes made the most of his opportunity.  Thrown a lifeline, Jacob was a rebounding specialist and another scorer who fitted in under Paul Woolpert.  His performances earned him a multi-year deal.

Peter Crawford had a outstanding shooting season for the Crocs as anything he shot went in.  After missing out on the Oceania Qualifiers for the 2012 Olympics in 2011, Crawford continued to shoot better throughout the season which earned him a spot on the 2012 London Olympics team.

2012/2013 – Townsville Crocodiles

10 & 18 8th – Missed Playoffs

5 Ben Allen

6 Mitch Norton

9 Gary Ervin (MVP) – IMPORT

10 Russell Hinder ©

12 Todd Blanchfield

17 Peter Crawford

20 Brendan Teys – Development Player

24 Michael Cedar

31 Jacob Holmes

33 Larry Abney – IMPORT

50 Luke Nevill

Coach: Paul Woolpert

Assts: Liam Flynn, Rodney Anderson & Matt Johnston

Interesting Facts:

It was a nightmare start for the Townsville Crocodiles.  Weeks before the season beginning, the club released their imports Curtis Withers and Jason Forte.  The club made a last minute call to Gary Ervin and Larry Abney to join the club.

Abney struggled in his return and injuries forced him to retire early into the season.  During that time, the club lost their first 10 games and never recovered.  Once the season finished both Paul Woolpert and Liam Flynn were sacked by the Crocs.

There were some highlights as Abney’s replacement Luke Nevill and Ervin went onto to finish the season strong.

2013/2014 – Townsville Crocodiles

10 & 18 8th – Missed Playoffs

1 Steve Markovic

3 Mirko Djeric

4 Scott Kenny

5 Josh Pace – IMPORT

6 Mitch Norton

10 Russell Hinder (c)

12 Todd Blanchfield

13 Greg Vanderjagt

14 Brian Conklin (MVP) – IMPORT

30 Josh Myles – Development Player

31 Jacob Holmes

Coach: Shawn Dennis

Assts: Mike Kelly & Rodney Anderson

Interesting Facts:

The went to Perth Wildcats assistant Shawn Dennis for the new season as a community club.  Dennis was also a player for the Townsville Suns prior to the club entering the NBL.  The club also recruited former fan favourite Mike Kelly back as an assistant coach.

The club went with a couple of Serbian players in Steven Markovic and Mirko Djeric.  After signing with the Crocs, Djeric was shot at a party in Sydney.  Luckily, Djeric fully recovered from the shot.

Brian Conklin joined the club and has become a crowd favourite, known by the fans as ‘King Conklin’, Brian went on to finish all NBL Second Team.

2014/2015 – Townsville Crocodiles

11 & 17 6th – Missed Playoffs

1 Steve Markovic

6 Mitch Norton

12 Todd Blanchfield

13 Greg Vanderjagt

14 Brian Conklin (MVP) – IMPORT

15 Leon Henry

16 Mirko Djeric

20 Ben Dixon – Development Player

31 Jacob Holmes

32 Mickell Gladness – IMPORT

35 Clint Steindl

40 Tom Howard – Development Player

Coach: Shawn Dennis

Asst: Mike Kelly

Interesting Facts:

For the first time in the clubs history, the Crocs played all of their home games away from ‘The Swamp’ to the Townsville RSL Stadium.

Todd Blanchfield and Brian Conklin had outstanding seasons for the club.  Blanchfield improved every single game which earned him the Most Improved Player Award.  For Brian Conklin, he had a stellar season being the go-to guy as he went on to win the NBL Most Valuable Player award becoming the third Crocs player to achieve that milestone.

There was also an issue throughout the NBL season in regards to imports Mickell Gladness’ block count.  During one game against Perth, many recorded 8 blocks for Gladness however, the NBL only credited him for 4.  This also occurred a couple of weeks later against the Cairns Taipans where he had 3 blocked shots in one play however the NBL did not credit him for any.  This caused an uproar on social media.

2015/2016 – Townsville Crocodiles

11 & 17 7th – Missed Playoffs

1 Corey Maynard

2 Jordair Jett (MVP)- IMPORT

3 Mitch Young

4 Nick Kay

5 Luke Schenscher

6 Mitch Norton (c)

 

13 Harry Froling

14 Brian Conklin (c) – IMPORT

15 Leon Henry

16 Mirko Djeric

20 Chris Cedar

30 Omar Samhan – IMPORT

35 Clint Steindl

Tom Howard – Development Player

Brent Wallace – Development Player

Chris Kann – Development Player

Coach: Shawn Dennis

Assts: Sam Gruggen & Greg Vanderjagt

Interesting Facts:

The club returned to their spiritual of the Townsville Entertainment Centre for the 2015/16 season.

It wasn’t the best of starts during the offseason as the club only a month after finishing the 2014/15 season went into voluntary administration.

Although there was good news in that the clubs were able to get out of VA, they did however lose the NBL Most Improved Player Todd Blanchfield and assistant coach Mike Kelly to Melbourne United.

The club then hired two young coaches as Shawn’s assistants in Sam Gruggen and recently retired Greg Vanderjagt.  Gruggen had previously worked as an intern coach for the West Sydney Razorbacks/Sydney Spirit while Dennis was at the helm.

The club went with a very young team luring Metro State standout Nick Kay, St Louis favourite Jordair Jett (known for his dreadlocks) and former Taipan players Mitch Young and Corey Maynard.

The Crocs earned a reputation as everyone’s second favourite team with their never say die attitude.  This included big wins over the Perth Wildcats in Perth after being down by as many as 19 points in the first quarter, a dramatic in-bounds steal by Luke Schenscher which led to a game winning three by Corey Maynard against Sydney and a last second steal at home against the Adelaide 36ers by Clint Steindl who passed it to Nick Kay dunking the ball with seconds to go.

With the same amount of games played over a shorter period of time, this resulted in a few injuries.  Luke Schenscher missed about two-thirds of the season due to an ankle injury which led the club to call up rising star Harry Froling (the son to former assistant coach Shane Froling) and Corey Maynard who was replaced by Chris Cedar for two games.  This was the first time Chris Cedar had played with the club since the 2012/13 season.

Import and club captain Brian Conklin was sacked halfway through the season after sub par performances.  He was replaced by former St Mary’s favourite Omar Samhan.  Townsville local Mitch Norton then took over the captaincy reigns.

Townsville won a few awards that season with Shawn Dennis winning NBL Coach of the Year, Clint Steindl winning the NBL Most Improved Player award and Nick Kay winning NBL Rookie of the Year.