The Rebels started strongly, with debutant Izaac Johnson (Echuca / St Patrick’s College) kicking the first goal of the game, and after captain Jarrod Berry and first-gamer Kyle O’Connor (Horsham Saints) also registered majors, the Rebels shot out to an early lead. With ruckman Lloyd Meek resting forward late in the quarter and goaling after a strong mark, the Rebels looked set to take a lead into the first break before Geelong kicked a last-minute goal to level the scores at the first break.
From there onwards though, Geelong wrested the ascendancy away from the Rebels, gradually increasing their forward entries and capitalizing on some wasteful Rebels possession to take an eleven point lead into half time.
The Falcons increased their scoreboard pressure in the third quarter, and whilst their accuracy wasn’t as sharp as Falcons coach Andrew Allthorpe would have liked, the sheer weight of ball into their forward line saw their lead increase to twenty-one points at the final break, which was stretched to twenty-eight points come match end.
For the Rebels, midfielders Hugh McCluggage (South Warrnambool), Berry (Horsham Saints) and Willem Drew (Koroit) were the standouts, with all three important in keeping the Rebels in the game until late. Tom Williamson (Ararat) was effective across half-back as the Rebels’ leading possession winner with twenty disposals for the day, Lloyd Meek (North Ballarat juniors) was effective both in the ruck and when swung forward, and on-baller James Gow (Koroit) impressed in his first TAC Cup match since 2014.
After the game, coach Gerard Fitzgerald took many positives from the contest – including the Rebels first quarter and their effectiveness inside their forward line with 21 scoring shots resulting from 32 forward 50 entries, but lamented the ease in which Geelong were able to move the ball into dangerous areas.
“Our key learnings [from the game] was the inability to prevent really swift use of the ball from stoppages by the opposition”, Fitzgerald commented post-game.
“This led to the opposition going inside their forward 50 far too many times, which was a bit of the dam wall not being able to hang on”.
The Rebels Round 2 match sees them travel to Bendigo’s Queen Elizabeth Oval to face the Dandenong Stingrays next Saturday 2nd April as part of a TAC Cup triple-header.
NORTH BALLARAT REBELS 4.3.27 7.4.46 11.6.72 14.7.91
GEELONG FALCONS 4.3.27 8.9.57 13.15.93 16.23.119
Rebels Goals: Lloyd Meek, Jarrod Berry, Hugh McCluggage 2, Tanna Blackney-Noter, Jacob Wheelahan, Joe Harrison, Lachlan Huppatz, Izaac Johnson, Charlie Lee, Willem Drew, Kyle O’Connor.
Rebels Best: Hugh McCluggage, Willem Drew, Tom Williamson, Jarrod Berry, Lloyd Meek, James Gow