Close-knit Crocs spurred on by fans

IN-FORM Townsville point guard Steve Markovic is confident his club's strong team spirit will help the Crocs bounce back into the winners' list when the NBL resumes this weekend.

The north Queensland outfit dropped to fifth after losses to Cairns (87-74) and the Melbourne Tigers (76-71) before the Christmas break.

But Markovic (pictured), back in Australia after playing nine seasons in Europe, said the way the community had rallied to keep the financially-stricken club afloat after last season was similar to the goodwill that existed within the playing group.

"In Europe a lot of players put themselves first and some can be quite selfish, so it took a little while for me to adjust," the 28-year-old said. "But we're such a tight-knit group - a lot of things we do together outside of training.

"And the fans have been fantastic - win, lose or draw, they're just happy they've still got a team to support."

Markovic, who had ankle surgery during the off-season, admitted the Christmas break had not come at an ideal time.

"We wanted to get back and play after two straight losses, but it's a long season so it will be good to have some time off," he said.

After scoring 31 points the previous weekend against the 36ers, Markovic admitted he failed to adjust to extra defensive attention from both Cairns and Melbourne.

"Cairns stopped me from getting the ball and running, and Melbourne always seemed to have two players on me," he said.

"So when that happens I just have to adapt, and try to get involved in different aspects of the game."

R11: Tonight: Melb v Woll; Sunday: Sydney v NZ; Tuesday: Woll v Melb, Cairns v Perth, Towns v Adel.

- JOSH SPASARO



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