By GRANT NEILSON
The Maclean Bobcats
THE Maclean Bowling Club Bobcats have once again shown that they are the club that can provide access to the highest level of competition, not only in this area but beyond, with captain Kevin Crofton selected to represent the Far North Coast Association in a match against the Gold Coast this weekend. This game will be a curtain-raiser to the pre-season A-League match between the Queensland Roar and Sydney FC and will likely be played in front of a crowd in excess of 10,000 at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast tonight. After making his Bobcat first grade debut as a 16-year-old, Crofton has become the linchpin of the Maclean team over the last 10 years, the last five as captain. He is virtually an automatic choice in the Far North Coast representative team these days as can be seen by the fact that he received eight out of a possible nine votes from rival premier league coaches for his selection. While Crofton is the only certain starter for the Bobcats in this match, star players Izaac McClymont, Eris Dufficy and Aaron Bylos have all be on standby this week should a position become available, such is the esteem the Maclean club is held in the region. Over the years the Bobcats have contributed not only to the senior rep teams but also to the North Coast Suns Under-21 side that plays in the Queensland Summer League. This development opportunity has proven to be a great stepping stone for a number of young Bobcat cubs, most notably Neil Thomas, Fraser Robinson, Kyle Sutton and Jimmy Harris who are all playing professional or semi-professional football at this stage of their careers. While the experienced Crofton and co are still flying the flag for the senior representatives the Bobcats are already running the rule over the next wave of young talent to direct toward the North Coast Suns. Emerging talents like Matt Bryant, Broden Hirst, Brad Corbett, Jack Plater and Lance Knibbs are all players that will be encouraged to try their luck with the Suns at the end of this season. Meanwhile Crofton and the cream from Far North Coast Premier League football will be out to put on an impressive display against the Gold Coast this weekend in front of a big crowd and no doubt a number of talent scouts. Kick off for their game will be at 5pm with the Queensland Roar v Sydney FC fixture to follow directly afterwards at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast. Because of this match the Bobcats will not play this weekend.