Thursday, February 16, 2006

Stalked by a great white shark

STAR Port Adelaide footballer Josh Francou has had a brush with a great white shark - and has the pictures to prove it.One day after a 2.4m bronze whaler was caught at Brighton beach, the Power on-baller encountered a great white he estimated to be 4.5m long, about 10km out from Brighton.

Francou was fishing for garfish and King George whiting at noon on Sunday when the shark "floated up like a submarine" at the back of his 5.3m boat and had him scurrying for his camera.
"We had caught a few gar and were just getting ready to go when we saw it, it was unbelievable," Francou said.

"It rolled on its side so you could see its white belly, it nudged the boat and for a moment looked like it was going to grab the outboard."

The shark circled Francou's fibreglass boat, owned by his father, Maurie - a hardman with North Adelaide in the 1970s - for about 10-to-15 minutes before disappearing into the ocean.

"I couldn't believe how big it was," Francou said. "I was in awe of its size.

"I've seen Jaws (the movie) and shark shows on television, but you don't appreciate how big these fish are until you see them in the flesh. It was massive."

Francou, runner-up in the Brownlow Medal in 2002 and third in 2001, was fishing with cousin Michael Brister and good mate Paul Bahr, who he joked was "not real brave" and was "physically shaking" at the encounter.

A regular angler with teammate Stuart Dew and former teammates Stuart Cochrane and Roger James, Francou said he always took a camera on his fishing trips in the "odd chance" that he would see a shark.


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