Former teen star delivers for Snakes
RUGBY LEAGUE: He is normally a reserve grader and he hates training, but Caboolture's Michael Crowe threatens to cut a swathe through the opposition in the Caloundra RSL Cup finals.
The little-known 24-year-old has emerged as the competition's X-factor after making an impressive transition to Don Gailer's A-grade outfit last month.
His unpredictable running and passing game is set to take rivals by surprise in the playoffs, which start tomorrow.
"He's a really freakish sort of player," said Caboolture's 2011 premiership-winning centre, Rory Burgess.
"Some of the stuff he does ... you sit back and clap your hands, and because he has come from reserve grade, a lot of players in A-grade won't really know who he is or what he's capable of, so that's a big plus for us."
While most teams are aware of fullback Scott Maddick's potential, it is Crowe who may pose the biggest danger.
"Scott is our number one playmaker and we've got a couple of others like Dayne Rogers and Chris Aiton, who are outstanding at hooker, but Michael adds that little bit extra," Burgess said.
IMPRESSIVE when playing for the Snakes as a teenager in 2009, Crowe is even better now after time away from the game and stints in reserve grade.
"He was a bit of a star for us back then, but this year with his intercepts and his show-and-go and all that sort of stuff, he just pulls them out of his bag every so often and comes away with the goods," Burgess said.
Crowe is actually more at ease playing in reserve grade, where he is top point-scorer, but he has left his comfort zone to boost the Snakes' A-grade title ambitions.
"I'm not a big fan of training," he said. "I like to just muck around with my mates.
"I didn't think I'd be playing A-grade again, to be honest. I was just happy to enjoy playing footy and not having to worry too much."
But he added: "It's always good to play finals."
Aside from the more taxing training, Crowe has attempted to take a relatively relaxed approach into A-grade.
"I'm trying to keep the same (relaxed) attitude, but it's a bit harder because you need to be a bit more switched on," he said.
Crowe's timely arrival coincides with a form revival at the Snakes.
The side finished the regular season in fourth place, of six teams, but did win its last two games, including a startling victory over minor premier Kawana.
The Snakes clash with third-placed Maroochydore at Wises Road on Sunday.
Kawana will host second-placed Caloundra tomorrow and Nambour hosts Noosa-Gympie in an elimination final on Sunday.
MAROOCHYDORE v CABOOLTURE
Sunday, Maroochydore, 2.30pm