NORTH Ballarat Rebels made it six wins on the trot with a 44-point triumph against Dandenong Stingrays yesterday.
The David Loader-coached side started its TAC Cup campaign with a 0-4 record but jumped to fourth after the 13.8 (86) to 6.6 (42) win at Eureka Stadium.
The run of form, which has included two wins by a goal or less, has breathed new life into a campaign which was seemingly off the rails a month in.
Loader said the turnaround of the group had been phenomenal and their latest victory fantastic.
“We haven’t deviated with what we wanted to achieve with this group from round one. It just took us a while to get going,” he said.
“Now they’re up and about and running with it. When they deliver what we ask them to, they start to achieve.”
Loader said improved self-belief had been the catalyst for the transformation.
“We’ve got a lot of blokes who are playing their first year of TAC Cup footy and are starting to get to know one another,” he said.
“I think that takes time. Once they started to see some results, away they went.”
The Rebels had to work hard to overpower the Stingrays, leading by 16 points at quarter-time, 21 at the long break and 26 at three-quarter-time.
A 4.1 to 1.1 final quarter secured the points, despite the Rebels resting Vic Country ruckman Rowan Marshall for much of the term.
Tom Ludeman was the pick of the south-west Rebels, who also included Marshall, Eric Guthrie, Liam Howarth, Tom Templeton and Tom Schnerring.
“Late in the day we kicked the ball a bit high to our forwards. The opposition capitalised on that,” Loader said. “Then about halfway through the tired bodies of everyone came into play and we opened the game up and really ran.”
Meanwhile, Geelong Falcons also took their record to 6-4 with a 12.7 (79) to 6.11 (47) defeat of Murray Bushrangers at Highgate Recreation Reserve.
The Andy Allthorpe-coached Falcons set up the win with a 5.4 to 0.2 third quarter.