Croydon Rangers News

News of the day in 2007

Article updated

Ash Boyd takes out team MVP award

1st December 07

2007 Junior Award Winners

Ash Boyd added to his league Offensive MVP award by not only winning the Croydon Rangers Offensive MVP but also taking out the Team MVP award.

Other award winners were as follows :

  • Defensive MVP : Nick Johnston
  • Line MVP : Jarryd Beikens
  • Rookie : Lachlan Sparks
  • Most Improved : William Gordon
  • Coaches Award : Ryan Brooks

The Croydon Rangers and the junior coaching staff would like to congratulate all award winners and all the players from the junior program on a fantastic season.

Ash Boyd wins league award

25th November 07

Croydon Rangers junior quarterback Ash Boyd took out the Gridiron Victoria Offensive MVP award last weekend at the Junior Vic Bowl. Ash Boyd had an outstanding first season as quarterback, running for 11 touchdowns and passing for 8 touchdowns.

Everyone at the Croydon Rangers congratulates Boyd on a fantastic season.

2008 Senior National Championships

1st October 07

The 2008 Gridiron Australia Senior National Championships will be held during the week 26 April to 4 May 2008 at the Runaway Bay Sports Centre on the Gold Coast.

Rocca Latest Aussie To Land NFL Job

3rd September 07 From by Bob Kent

Australian Rules Football star Sav Rocca had dreams of following in the footsteps of fellow countrymen Darren Bennett, Ben Graham and Mat McBriar, all of whom made the transcontinental journey to the NFL. On Saturday, Rocca’s dream — at least the start of it — became a reality.

Thanks to what GM Tom Heckert referred to as “a big-time leg,” Rocca beat out incumbent Dirk Johnson for the team’s punting job. In addition, by unseating Johnson, Rocca also earned another important special teams role — as the holder for placekicker David Akers.

The hotly contested battle between Rocca and Johnson went down to the very last preseason game, and in the end, Heckert and the Eagles believed the 34-year-old Rocca offered more of an upside. “That was probably the toughest decision we had to make,” Heckert said during a conference call Saturday. “It was really close, it really was.”

Rocca finished the preseason with a 45.4-yard gross and a 38.9-yard net. He dropped five of his 15 punts inside the 20-yard line. Johnson, meanwhile, posted a 43.9-yard gross and a 34.8-yard net, with four punts placed inside the 20.

“It was a very even competition,” Heckert said. “We just decided to go with Sav because, as everybody knows, he’s got a big-time leg. His really good punts are really good and his bad punts aren’t bad either.”

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Rocca arrived in Philadelphia in the spring and has since proven to be more than a novelty. His leg strength was obviously there, but he was raw. His technique, too, needed work. But he got better with each practice and in the end, landed the job.

“I came here pretty raw and I think I’ve sharpened up a couple of spots and hopefully it’s enough,” Rocca said following Thursday night’s preseason finale. “Every aspect of my punting has improved. I’m sure I’ll get better from here on in.”

Rocca credits a week spent with Bennett years ago as “the turning point” in his career. A three-time Pro Bowl punter, Bennett was named as the punter on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1990s despite only playing in the league for half of that decade.

Bennett paved the way for McBriar and Graham, and now Rocca. McBriar boasts a 36.8-yard net average for his three seasons in Dallas and Graham has a 37.9-yard net average in two seasons with the Jets. Rocca will begin filling his NFL resume a week from Sunday when the Eagles visit Green Bay. That’s when the real work begins.

The Australian punting pipeline in the NFL is well established. Now it’s Rocca’s turn. His NFL story is just beginning.

Three way tie for team MVP

2nd September 07

Croydon Rangers a a new piece of history on Saturday night when three players tied for team MVP. Aaron Collins, Neale Oliver and Richard Garraway all finished on the same amount of point in the tightest points race in many years.

The award winners are as follows.

  • Rookie of the Year : James Penny
  • Most Improved : Paul O’Sullivan
  • Coaches Award : Nathan Pasco
  • Special Teams MVP : Neale Oliver
  • Lineman MVP : Tim Davies
  • Defensive MVP : Aaron Collins
  • Offensive MVP : Paul O’Sullivan
  • Most Valuable Player : Aaron Collins, Neale Oliver, Richard Garraway
  • 100 Games Award : Craig Smith, Nick Gorse, Richard Garraway & Aaron Collins

Rocca’s American Punt

15th May 07 by Ron Flatter from

THERE’S still that Aussie humility. But Saverio Rocca has found a little bit of American swagger to go with it.

Discussing his bid to win the punting job with National Football League club the Philadelphia Eagles, Rocca put it bluntly yesterday: “I don’t want them to have to make a decision. I want to make it for them.”

Letting his powerful, right leg do the talking, Rocca attracted plenty of oohs and aahs from onlookers in three days of off-season workouts that marked the 33-year-old former AFL star’s first formal practices in the NFL.

“He’s still got a bit of inconsistency right now,” said Rory Segrest, the Eagles’ special-teams assistant who is in charge of Rocca and incumbent punter Dirk Johnson. “For a guy who hasn’t kicked an American football for a long time, he’s coming along very well.”

On a warm, sunny morning, Rocca would boom one kick after another 60 metres, making the pointy, brown ball twirl high for five seconds before landing. But then another punt would die after only four seconds and 45 metres. That would be followed quickly by another 60-metre jaw-dropper.

“I thought he did a nice job,” Eagles head coach Andy Reid said. “The one thing he has to see is a rush (from defenders), where he has to kick under pressure.

“This is the first time he had a football helmet on. It’s a little different experience, but he sure is a competitor.”

Rocca needed all his competitive instinct just to land this chance to compete with Johnson, 29, this northern summer. After retiring last year from the Kangaroos, Rocca used connections in Australia to sign with an agent in America, who no longer represents Rocca.

“He didn’t return my calls, so I ditched the guy,” said Rocca, whose September tryout with the Buffalo Bills was the only whiff of a chance he had in his first two months poking around the NFL. “I gave the Bills a call, and they said they’re thinking about me or another punter. Once I got the gist of that, I pretty much got on the front foot and organised other tryouts through another agent.”

Enter Ben Graham, who was last year in the middle of his second successful season punting for the New York Jets. He referred Rocca to his own agent — Boston-based Kristen Kuliga. “I gave her a call just to get a couple ideas,” Rocca said. “She said that she’d help me out a fair bit. She did that within a day. Got me a workout here.”

After that late-November audition, it was only days before Rocca signed a non-guaranteed, three-year contract with the Eagles. It meant he would get a serious audition — the same Graham got with the Jets in 2005 after he left Geelong.

Recounting what he was told of his chances to make the team, Rocca said: “Fifty-fifty. I want to make sure that I put in my hardest work and my best performance just to make sure that I can sway them.”

Because he had what was regarded as a shaky fourth season punting for the Eagles, Johnson must regard Rocca as a serious threat to his job. “You feel a little bit of a competition there,” said Rocca, who has been given the No. 6 jersey. “You don’t get to push and shove, but you’re in each other’s face a lot. Where you can set off a good kick, you might just let a little bit of doubt get into the other person’s mind. So you can get the edge that way.”

Rocca also has received positive reviews for his ability to hold the ball for field goals, something punters often are asked to do for placement kickers since they work closely during a typical practice week.

“Actually, he’s very smooth,” Segrest said. “He started working on that as soon as he got over here. He’s come a long way with that, as well.”

Rocca said he had assimilated quite well to his new life — both professionally and personally. “I’m loving it over here. The weather is good at the moment. The family is over here, so I’m really enjoying it.”

For now, Rocca, wife Rose and sons Matthew, 4, and Lucas, 18 months, must live off their savings and the princely NFL stipend of about $US750 ($A900) a week. Other than a two-week trip to Australia in late June, the focus is entirely on practice sessions and Eagles summer camp in July and August in rural Pennsylvania.

“I reckon I made a good living out of football back home,” Rocca said. “At the moment, I’ve got a little bit of money saved up. We’ll use a bit until September, then hopefully, we can get a bit of a payback then (read: $US285,000, or $A342,000, for four months’ work).”

By then, perhaps Americans will know how to pronounce Rocca. At present, they have made his surname rhyme with “poker”.

“I think it’s just the way their accent sounds,” Rocca said. “… I’m not too fussed. As long as I’m getting a kick.”

Has Sav told the Eagles that he has a younger brother, Anthony, with a big leg? “No,” he said. “I’ll make sure I get my job first.”

2007 Annual General Meeting

20th Apr 07

The Croydon Rangers elected its 2007 committee on the 19th of April at the 2007 AGM. Kevin Collins was elected as the clubs President. Mark Ursu was elected as the Vice President, Sandra Davies as the Treasurer and Peter Davies as the clubs Secretary.

McBriar gets five year deal

28th February 07 by Nick Eatman from

He put up numbers better than any other punter in Cowboys history. His 2006 season average was the best the NFL had seen in 43 years. And he became Cowboys’ first Pro Bowler punter since 1971.

Needless to say, Mat McBriar deserved a pay raise.

And on Wednesday, two days before the start of free agency when he would have become a restricted free agent, McBriar appears headed for that raise . . . and then some.

The Cowboys and McBriar have agreed to terms on a five-year deal worth $8.5 million, including a $2.5 million signing bonus. That deal will easily make McBriar one of top five highest-paid punters in the NFL.

By locking up McBriar before Friday’s start to free agency, the Cowboys avoid having to decide what level tender to give him to reserve first right of refusal should he have signed another team’s restricted free agency offer sheet. Although the Cowboys likely would have been able to match most deals, there is no telling though how high some team’s price tag might have risen for McBriar.

Instead, the Cowboys and McBriar will bypass free agency all together, the punter locked up in Dallas for at least the next five years.

McBriar, in just his third NFL season, led the league in punting last year with a whopping 48.2 average, earning him a Pro Bowl spot, the first by a Cowboys punter since Ron Widby in 1971. McBriar’s average was also the best by an NFL punter since Yale Lary’s 48.9 average in 1963. McBriar also tied for fourth in the NFL and ranked second in the NFC with a 38.6-yard net average.

During the regular season, McBriar boomed 27 of his 56 punts more than 50 yards, with six traveling 60 or more yards. His 75-yard punt against the Houston Texans tied the second longest in club history.

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