A second half fadeout has cost the North Ballarat Rebels a chance to post their maiden victory of the 2016 TAC Cup season today.
After trailing the Dandenong Stingrays by eleven points at half time in their Round 2 clash at Bendigo’s Queen Elizabeth Oval, the Rebels had the first five scoring shots of the opening quarter but registered behinds each time, with the Stingrays taking over the game from there on in to win by 30 points and condemn the Rebels to their second successive loss.
The Rebels again started well, with Koroit’s James Gow and Echuca’s Izaac Johnson both kicking goals in the early stages of the game to give the Rebels an early lead, and the game was even for most of the first half, with the Stingrays putting their noses in front late in the second quarter to take their eleven point half time lead.
For the first half of the third quarter, the Rebels dominated the game but couldn’t convert this into scoreboard domination, and when the Stingrays kicked three goals in the second half of the third quarter to lead by twenty-six points at the final change.
When South Warrnambool’s Shannon Beks kicked the opening goal of the final quarter the Rebels had a sniff, but Dandenong quickly snuffed out any hope of a comeback to win by thirty points.
Koroit pair Gow and Willem Drew were the Rebels’ best performers on the day, with Drew leading all Rebels with 24 possessions on the day and Gow not far behind with 21. Rotating through the midfield, both players gave everything they had and could hold their heads high leaving the ground.
Defenders Keenan Waterbury (Big River Hawks (NT)/St Patrick’s College) and Tom Williamson (Ararat) were also impressive, with Casterton-Sandford’s Todd Clode and Stawell’s Naish McRoberts also standing out through the midfield rotations.
This weekend’s TAC Cup Development Round bye couldn’t come at a better time for the Rebels, with Joe Harrison (ankle), Jacob Wheelahan (concussion) and Tom Williamson (elbow) all failing to make it through the entire game, and their fitness will be closely monitored in the lead-up to the Rebels’ Round 3 clash with the Murray Bushrangers at Carlton’s IKON Park on Sunday 17th April.