The North Ballarat Rebels have once again emerged victorious in a top-of-the-table clash, this time defeating the Dandenong Stingrays by 23 points on Saturday.
In an exciting affair at Dandenong’s Shepley Oval, the Rebels overcame an early deficit to claim their ninth-straight win of the season and retain their spot on top of the TAC Cup Ladder.
As expected, Dandenong proved strong opposition for the Rebels, particularly early as the Stingrays quickly established a 14-point lead midway through the first term.
However, late goals to ruckman Lloyd Meek and Ben Simpson were enough to get North Ballarat within a solitary point at the first change.
It was just the confidence boost the Rebels needed, as they soon took the lead from Dandenong and were able to hold the Stingrays to just three behinds in the second quarter.
Leading by nine points at half time, the Rebels were in a strong position to surge away.
However, the Stingrays had other ideas.
Early in the third term, the home side kicked three goals in five minutes to regain the lead and put the heat on North Ballarat.
Suddenly, it was time for the Rebels to respond – and they did just that.
The Rebels booted the last two goals of the third quarter, and the first three of the final term – including majors from debutants Jarrod Korewha and Jackson Carrick – to explode away from Dandenong.
Coach David Loader said it was a terrific win for his side.
“It was a really good team effort,” a delighted Loader said.
“To travel down here against such good quality opposition and get a win in what were perfect conditions, was fantastic.”
The victory was even more impressive when taking into account who didn’t feature.
Missing the likes of captain Darcy Tucker, Jarrod Berry and Jacob Hopper, amongst other key players, North Ballarat illustrated just how deep its talent runs.
While regulars Meek, Simpson and Joel Cowan all continued their strong seasons, others such as Billy Lloyd and Luke McLeod took their chances to make an impression.
Loader said the less-experienced brigade of Rebels all stood up in a crucial game.
“We talk a lot about opportunities for players that have perhaps been in and out of the side, and guys that are playing their first year of TAC Cup footy,” Loader said.
“We had a lot of those guys today – (they) just stood up and played so well. We’re really pleased for them individually but pleased for us as a group that now they’re all starting to drive one-another along.”
With all clubs in the TAC Cup having a weekend off, the Rebels return on July 4 to host the Western Jets at Eureka Stadium.
4.3.27, 4.7.31, 8.10.58, 9.16 (70)
North Ballarat Rebels
4.2.26, 6.4.40, 10.5.65, 14.9 (93)
Goal Kickers: M. Poholke 2, M. Cox 2, B. Kiely 2, S. Downie , M. Kleverkamp , T. Young
Best Players: , B. White , H. Prior , B. Kiely , J. Bubb , M. Poholke , M. Cox
NORTH BALLARAT REBELS
Goal Kickers: L. Meek 2, J. Cowan 2, J. Wheelahan , B. Simpson , C. Wellings , Y. Eades , J. Symons , J. Webster , S. Beks , J. Carrick , J. Korewha , C. Lee
Best Players: , L. Meek , B. Lloyd , B. Simpson , L. McLeod , T. Williamson , J. Cowan