The North Ballarat Rebels registered their biggest win of the season yesterday afternoon, defeating the Eastern Ranges by a whopping 93 points at Eureka Stadium.
In a terrific display of skill and brilliance, the accurate Rebels kicked 25.8 for the game – including 17 goals in an exceptional second half – to dismantle one of the best teams in the TAC Cup competition.
Rebels’ captain Darcy Tucker, who returned to some of his best form last weekend, was again superb, as were usual suspects Jacob Hopper and Ben Simpson.
The move of Yestin Eades back to the forward line also reaped rewards, as the talented utility booted five goals in his best performance for the year.
However, despite the end margin, it was a hot contest early on.
The Eastern Ranges brought strong pressure in the opening quarter, but the Rebels’ capitalised on limited opportunities to lead by three goals at the first change.
It wasn’t much different in the second term either, as the Rebels continued to hit the scoreboard despite general play being relatively even between the two sides.
The second half, however, was a different story.
In a flash, the Rebels raised the bar to a level that the Ranges simply couldn’t match. Too tough in congestion and too fast on the outside, it was a dominant effort from the Rebels after the main break.
Rebels’ coach David Loader commended his side for a four-quarter performance.
“That’s as complete as we’ve been all year, probably,” Loader said.
“To win like that against quality opposition is really pleasing. Eastern are a good side. They certainly went neck and neck with us early on and we got a little bit of stretch and opened the gap up – and the boys played well in the second half.
“That was important for us, to be solid and play four decent quarters of footy against a team that I really think will be there when the whips are cracking.”
Unfortunately, the win was soured by a shoulder injury to Jarrod Berry in the third quarter.
The star flanker, who gained All Australian honours in the AFL Under-18 Championships earlier this year, had scans today on a dislocated shoulder. The full extent of the injury has yet to be disclosed.
After another development weekend, the Rebels will travel to Morwell on August 16 to face the Gippsland Power.
North Ballarat Rebels
4.3-27, 8.6-54, 16.7-103, 25.8 (158)
1.3-9, 4.3-27, 7.4-46, 10.5 (65)
North Ballarat Rebels
Goal Kickers: Y. Eades 5, J. Berry 4, J. Hopper 3, H. McCluggage 3, C. Wellings 3, C. Byrne 2, T. Templeton , M. Johnston , T. Williamson , R. Thompson , D. Rioli
Best Players: , D. Tucker , Y. Eades , J. Hopper , C. Wellings , H. McCluggage , B. Simpson
Goal Kickers: J. Gilbert 2, L. Wilson , A. Cotte , B. Hardwick , J. Hannon , D. Crocker , J. Smith , L. Jeffs , J. Parsons
Best Players: , B. Mitchener , B. Batty , B. Hardwick , A. Cotte , T. Hollins , D. Crocker