Rebels Win Over Ranges
A terrific team effort from the North Ballarat Rebels has driven them to a large 43-point victory against the Eastern Ranges on Saturday.
A scintillating first term in which North Ballarat piled on nine goals to one was the catalyst, eventually running out 18.8 (116) to 10.13 (73) winners.
The victory against the Ranges now places the Rebels in third spot on the TAC Cup ladder as the season almost reaches its midway point.
With a strong wind favouring one end of the ground, North Ballarat used this advantage to put the game seemingly out of reach of Eastern in the first term; however the Ranges were able to make the contest much closer when kicking with the breeze in the second and fourth quarters.
Coach of the Rebels David Loader was ecstatic with how his side started the match after losing in disappointing circumstances the week before.
“For the first 25 minutes, everyone just played their role. Every single player on the ground and we just became systematic with what we were doing,” said Loader.
That team performance reflected well on the scoreboard throughout the match, as North Ballarat were able to boot a consistent three goals in every quarter following the dominant opening term to keep the Ranges at bay.
Key forward Sam Dobson and midfielder Rory Taggert led the goal kicking with three goals each, but they were just two of the ten individual goal kickers the Rebels had on the day.
The big matchup on the day for North Ballarat was Eastern Ranges tall forward Jonathon Patton, who is largely being touted as one of the prized picks in this year’s upcoming AFL NAB National Draft.
Patton was dominant around the ground, taking countless towering marks across centre half-forward for the Ranges. The Rebels tried to curtail his influence by rotating Tanner Smith, Tim Mackenzie and captain Nick O’Brien on him.
To some degree it worked, as while Patton was taking a lot of marks around half-forward, he remained goalless for the match which must be seen as a win to North Ballarat given at the time he was the TAC Cup’s leading goal kicker.
The game also boasted two debutants for North Ballarat in Liam Youl and Ashley Simpson, who both showed they are more than capable of playing great football at TAC Cup level despite both being just 16 years of age at present.
Loader was pleased that the two new boys were able to come in and impact the match.
“I’m rapt for those kids…to put in two young kids and have them perform like that, it’s really exciting,” Loader said.
“You love that as a coach because you know that there’s more kids coming through that can play.”
Another development weekend is scheduled for all TAC Cup sides this week, allowing all players some time to concentrate on their study and rack up some more hours on their driving log books on their L plates.
The Rebels next game is on Saturday, May 28 in Mildura against regional rivals the Bendigo Pioneers, while the Ranges will host the Northern Knights.
By Stuart Wilson