The North Ballarat Rebels have extended their winning streak to five in a row, after defeating the Northern Knights by a comprehensive 75 points on Saturday.
Cold and windy conditions at Eureka Stadium played their part in preventing a free-flowing spectacle, but North Ballarat still found a way to flex its muscles and hit the scoreboard.
Not only did the victory continue the Rebels’ impressive start to the season – it also propelled them to the top of the TAC Cup ladder.
The opening term certainly wasn’t the prettiest, as both teams were still adjusting to the torrid weather. However, the Rebels’ intent at the contest and willingness to spread hard from stoppages was already plainly evident.
It didn’t take long for the Rebels to surge away, as they kicked seven goals in the second quarter to establish a sizeable 47-point gap at the main break.
The Northern Knights battled hard to stay in the game, but were ultimately outworked by a Rebels outfit that was too strong in the clinches and too fast on the outside.
Coach David Loader said it was not only a pleasing result for his team, but also a more consistent effort than their last couple of outings.
“For the boys to go out and be able to play the style we wanted to play in those conditions was a real bonus,” he said.
“But I felt we worked a little bit better today across four quarters than we have in the last couple of weeks.”
Loader also stressed the importance of trying players in multiple positions, which had the flow-on effect of 10 individual goal-scorers.
The dynamic Yestin Eades was also successfully tried across half back, adding some extra run-and-carry from defence.
Loader said the ability of players to thrive in multiple positions was important for not only their own individual improvement, but the team’s as well.
“We’re trying to develop a lot of kids as much as we possibly can, but certainly having the flexibility for a number of our players to play forward, midfield and back is going to be beneficial to us in the long run,” he said.
Bottom-age utility Hugh McCluggage made a bright debut for the Rebels, providing a spark up forward and showcasing impressive skills.
The coach could not help but be impressed with McCluggage’s first outing.
“He didn’t look out of place at all at TAC Cup level, which is great,” Loader said.
“He’s a quiet lad, but he certainly read the game well and he was smart when he used the ball, so we’re really pleased that Hugh has got one under his belt now and we look forward to watching him develop.”
The Rebels will enjoy another home game at Eureka Stadium this Saturday, when they host an in-form Gippsland Power outfit.
North Ballarat Rebels 3.3.21, 10.6.66, 15.12.102, 18.15 (123)
Northern Knights 1.0.6, 3.1.19, 5.4.34, 7.6 (48)
NORTH BALLARAT REBELS
Goal Kickers: J.Cowan 3, J.Hopper 3, M.Johnston 2, B.Lusby 2, T.Templeton 2, E.Frank 2, J.Symons, C.Wellings, T.Taurau, N.Hausler.
Disposals: Templeton 28, Hopper 26, Symons 23, Lusby 22, Berry 20, Simpson 19, Johnston 18, McCluggage 17
Best Players: J.Hopper, B.Lusby, T.Templeton, J.Symons, M.Johnston , H.Dawborn
Goal Kickers: M. Ercolano 2, B. Jordan , C. Dalgleish , C. McKay , I. Soldo , K. Malone
Best Players: J. El Moussalli, J.Gresham, B.Fiorini, M.Ercolano, K.Malone, T.Leonardis