Crossley stands down but puts faith behind youth

HE came close to becoming the permanent skipper for the Monaro Panthers, but now former captain-in-waiting Tom Crossley has stepped down from Premier League duties due to working committments.

Vice-captain to James Bradbury for two seasons, Crossley was initially named to be captain for 2014, but announced on Tuesday night he would be moving to China in June to take up a football coaching role.

Crossley is undecided whether he will play Premier League or lower level football for Monaro until his departure in June, but conceded he could not meet the time committments required for Premier League.

"I'll be away for the best part of the season, and probably the most crucial part being the back end," he said.

"I would like to consider playing somewhere, but just the time committment at Monaro in what they're trying to do going forward- I don't think I've got that time available."

Head coach Njegosh Popovich will likely appoint talented mid-fielder Josh Calabria as captain when he returns from a fractured wrist, and has named Alex Hollis as interim captain.

Crossley backed up Popovich's desire in Calabria, and said his passion and enjoyment for the game added to his persistance with the club during times he could have left.

"When some of his friends or previous teammates left he decided to stay," he said. "Josh has always been a very competitive and passionate footballer, but he always had enjoyment to be there."

Crossley played approximately 50 games for the Panthers Premier League side over three full off-seasons and pre-seasons and two full regular seasons, and said with currently implemented programs, the club would build to a powerhouse.

"They're putting in implementations across four grades in both systems and expectations of play on and off the field," he said.

"People deserved of recognition would be Njegosh Popovich and Mauro Davanzo, who stepped down from the Presidency to be the men's coordinator."

"It's a family club with no cultural ties...players can come along and play from juniors to seniors at a club that wants them to be the best they can be."

Crossley said he will miss the club he has much respect for, but said he will leave it in good stead with a number of under 18's players progressing to first grade this season.

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