The North Ballarat Rebels’ winning streak has been brought to an abrupt end, after the Rebels suffered a 40-point defeat at the hands of the Geelong Falcons earlier this afternoon.
In torrential rain at Eureka Stadium, the Rebels were dismantled after quarter time to finish 5.9 (39) to 12.7 (79) against their regional rivals, who caused the Rebels’ only other loss in the opening round of the season.
It was a comprehensive performance from the Falcons, who defended superbly and rarely allowed the Rebels’ game-breakers to have an influence.
The Rebels’ usual speed and class was also subdued by the difficult weather, which quickly turned the game into a slog when the heavens opened during quarter time.
Indeed, it was only in the first term that the Rebels appeared to have the spark that had previously helped them to 10 victories in a row.
After an early stalemate, the Rebels kicked two goals near the end of the quarter to lead by 11 points, before Geelong scored on the siren to bring the margin back to less than a goal at quarter time.
Bottom-age star Jarrod Berry was particularly effective in the term as a playmaker off half back, providing terrific rebound out of defence.
The Falcons, however, were quick to respond. By the mid-way point of the second quarter, Geelong had managed to take the lead and appeared in complete control.
Conversely, the Rebels suddenly seemed lethargic and were kept goalless for the entire term to trail by 13 points at half time.
It was a match that appeared set to go either way at the main break – and unfortunately for North Ballarat, it was all Geelong in the second half.
Despite strong efforts from Rebels’ hard nuts Matthew Johnston and Joseph Symons, the Falcons were far cleaner and much more assured in congestion.
Rebels’ coach David Loader said his players seemed a tired outfit during stages of the game.
“It was a tough day,” Loader said.
“The most concerning thing was that we probably just went away from playing how we like to play, so we give full credit to Geelong to be able to do their homework and probably squeeze us up like they did.
“Look, it was a good tough game, we’ll learn a bit out of it and we’ll move over this relatively quickly and look forward to our next game.”
North Ballarat remains on top of the TAC Cup ladder, sitting one-win clear of the Dandenong Stingrays, and will have a weekend off to refresh before hosting Queensland at Eureka Stadium on July 25.
North Ballarat Rebels
3.0-18, 3.5-23, 4.7-31, 4.9 (33)
2.1-13, 6.2-38, 9.4-58, 11.7 (73)
North Ballarat Rebels
Goal Kickers: N. Hausler , J. Cowan , T. Templeton , E. Frank
Best Players: , M. Johnston , J. Berry , J. Symons , J. Webster , B. Lusby , Y. Eades
Goal Kickers: B. Blair 3, Z. Zdybel 3, L. McCartney , M. Augerinos , S. Holroyd , R. Mathieson , D. Parish
Best Players: , R. Mathieson , P. Dowling , H. Kol , Z. Zdybel , L. McCartney , S. Darcy