Australian punter Scott Crough is trying to catch on with Calgary.The CFL has two unusual non-imports in training camps this season, and they come from the land down under. Both have played Australian rules football, but they're new to the Canadian game and will be trying to catch on as punters at first. 31-year-old Scott Crough is in camp with the Calgary Stampeders, while 27-year-old Josh Bartel is with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It's going to be interesting to watch the duo compete, both from a perspective of their stories and from a perspective of what this means for Canadian talent.
First, let's take a look at Crough. He's played in the second tier of the Australian league, but never became a full-fledged pro there (unlike older brother Justin) thanks to his desire to pursue a career as a painter. He's been investigating options overseas, though, and after failing to catch on with the NFL, worked out for Calgary coaches last August. They liked what they saw enough to add him to their negotiation list, and as Allen Cameron reports, Crough made a crucial purchase before heading home:
Of all the purchases made at the McMahon Stadium Stamps' Store in 2011, Scott Crough's might have been the most significant.
The Australian punter visited Calgary last August for an informal workout for Stampeder coaches, who evidently liked what they saw from the former Aussie Rules player because they told him they planned to add the lanky 31-year-old to their negotiation list. Until then, all of Crough's training to be the rare overseas product to make it in our style of football had been with an NFL football, and he recognized there are some subtle, but important, differences in the two balls. So, after the workout, he walked to the Stamps' Store and bought an official CFL football to take home to Australia.
"I thought, well, I have to bring one of these things home with me if they're going to put me on their negotiation list," recalled Crough on Wednesday, his final day of preparation before officially beginning life as a Stampeder with this morning's opening session of rookie camp (10 a.m., McMahon Stadium). "The team sent me some more (after signing him in February), but I wore that first one out. I would have to kick the ball and run after it, because I didn't want to confuse myself by kicking with different footballs."
Crough is in a battle with Rob Maver for the team's punting slot, and he seems to be performing pretty well thus far. As Ian Busby relates, though, Canada requires him to make numerous adjustments both on and off the fieldRead More »from Australian punters Scott Crough and Josh Bartel invade the CFL