The North Ballarat Rebels have continued their impressive start to the season, defeating the in-form Oakleigh Chargers by 28 points at Warrawee Park on Saturday.
A strong opening term, in which the Rebels kicked five unanswered goals, set up the victory – the Rebels’ fourth in a row.
It took ten minutes of scrappy football before the Rebels kicked off proceedings with the first major – courtesy of defender Josh Webster – but from that moment on, the Rebels surged away.
It was also fitting that Webster opened the Rebels’ account, as the 19 year-old would go on to produce yet another outstanding performance.
Despite the early onslaught, the Chargers responded after quarter time and were able to get themselves back into the contest.
Yet every time it appeared as if Oakleigh was about to bridge the gap, the Rebels would find a way to hit back.
In the end, the damage was done in the first term. Oakleigh was gallant to prevent a blowout, but the Rebels were never truly threatened.
0.2-2, 4.6.30, 6.8.44, 7.10 (52)
North Ballarat Rebels
5.2.32, 9.3,57, 10.5,65, 12.8 (80)
Goal Kickers: J. Ridley 2, B. Crocker 2, J. Corboy , T. Phillips , C. Young
Best Players: , P. Stathopoulos , D. Beddison , J. Roughsedge , F. Pearce , M. Jackson , A. Morgan
NORTH BALLARAT REBELS
Goal Kickers: E.Frank 3, Y.Eades 2, T.Templeton 2, T.Taurau, M.Johnston, J.Webster, N.Hausler, S.McClure
Best Players: , J. Webster , A. Cleary , T. Templeton , Y. Eades , J. Symons , C. Byrne
It was a professional win from the Rebels – not their best, but an impressive one nonetheless.
Coach David Loader said his team’s ability to kick five successive goals in the opening quarter proved to be the difference.
“In a way, we were a bit lucky that Oakleigh didn’t hurt us early on,” he said.
“We weren’t great for about the first 10 minutes. We were quite sloppy with our ball-use and we weren’t playing the style of footy that we wanted to play.
“But then, when we settled down, we really played some good footy for the last 15 minutes of the first quarter. We led by 30 points at quarter time and that’s what the game has been won by.
“To travel over to Melbourne and get a win against the form team of the competition, we’re really pleased with the outcome.”
Pacey midfielder Tom Templeton was again prominent for the Rebels, kicking two of his trademark goals on the run, while Yestin Eades also showed plenty of dash.
Along with Webster, defender Angus Cleary also played a crucial down back, as did impressive youngster Connor Byrne.
Though hesitant to single out individual players, Loader couldn’t help but praise on Cleary for his efforts.
“‘Gus’ has been really, really good for us this year,” Loader said.
“He’s held down centre-half-back and just looks really competent in the role. He’s been a real bonus for the group.”
The second-placed Rebels will finally enjoy their first home game of the season on Saturday, when they host the Northern Knights at Eureka Stadium.