June 1, 2012
Aussie kicker gets crash course
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
CALGARY - There is plenty for Scott Crough to learn as he tries to win a job with the Calgary Stampeders.
The punting part isn’t really the toughest thing.
Remembering which way to look when he crosses the street is priority No. 1.
“Just the idea of going back to the dorms, I nearly got banged up,” said the 31-year-old Australian. “It wouldn’t have been a good start.”
Crough, along with countrymate Josh Bartel for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, is trying to become the first Aussie to play in the CFL since Mark Harris suited up for the Montreal Alouettes in 1973.
The former Aussie rules player, who reached the next-to-best level back home, has wowed the Stampeders coaching staff with his big leg.
The biggest issue for Crough is — other than making sure he remembers traffic runs opposite here than what it does Down Under — catching the snap, facing the oncoming rush and getting the punt off.
During the first day of rookie camp, he worked with long-snapper Randy Chevrier in the morning and faced the rush in the afternoon session.
“I’ve never had it before,” Crough said. “I tried to simulate that back home. It’s not the same.
“Randy threw a couple of hard ones at me. They were right where I wanted, on the left hip. He wasn’t even warmed up.
“It was just casual. If I get them like that every time, this will be easier.”
Crough will be competing against third-year kicker/punter Rob Maver for the job of replacing seven-year veteran Burke Dales, who left as a free-agent for the Edmonton Eskimos.
Maver will be busy in camp as he will also compete against Rene Paredes for place-kicking duties.
Although he’s a foreigner, Crough isn’t consider an import because he’s never played organized football before.
That made him intriguing to the Stampeders.
“He’s a true, two-step power punter who is hungry for an opportunity,” special teams co-ordinator Mark Kilam said about the left-footer. “He can hit the ball pretty well.
“It’s a little thinking outside the box, but to have him classify as a non-import, we want to exhaust those options. He has the ability, so it’s worth a look.”
Crough is making a huge life change to pursue a football career. He left his new wife back home and his career as a painter and interior designer, although his bride will join him if he makes the team.
The weather is a bit of a shock, too, as Brisbane usually has the climate of Miami.
Being that he just arrived this week, the biggest adjustment is the jet-lag.
“I had to go back in time to get here,” Crough said. “It was tough. It was 35 hours door-to-door. I got about two hours sleep last night.
“I haven’t quite adjusted to the timezone yet. I’ve only been at the facility or the dorms, and that’s how it will be during camp.
“But I love Canada, and I love Canadians.”