NORTH Ballarat Rebels tuned up for their annual trip to Warrnambool with a gutsy come-from-behind win against Western Jets yesterday.
The David Loader-coached side trailed by two goals at quarter-time but kicked 6.9 to 2.3 thereafter to win 7.10 (52) to 5.4 (34) at Eureka Stadium.
The win, the Rebels’ seventh in a row after four losses to start the TAC Cup season, included keeping the Jets to two behinds after half-time.
Loader said the performance, in wet and windy weather, bodes well for their clash with Geelong Falcons at Reid Oval on Sunday.
He said the teens “switched on a little bit and adapted to the conditions better” after half-time, despite being without four Victoria Country representatives.
“When we slipped early in the game to 14 or 15 points behind, it was becoming a bit of a challenge for us,” he said.
“We thought if we don’t change things here in conditions like this, the game slips away from you.
“To be able to wrestle that (margin) back in the second quarter and improve after half-time was good.
“When we adjusted to those conditions we were a lot better. It was a great result for us and for our season.”
Loader played up the efforts of Warrnambool onballer Tom Ludeman and Hamilton Kangaroos’ Eric Guthrie, who played as a small defender.
Regular key defender Oscar McDonald also impressed at centre half-forward, a performance Loader said would have caught the eyes of AFL club scouts. “There are plenty of positives to come out of a day like today,” Loader said.
Meanwhile, Geelong Falcons suffered their fifth defeat of the season when Sandringham Dragons scored a 9.13 (67) to 4.3 (27) win at Avalon Airport Oval.
Cobden teenager Paul Pekin played his second match of the season in the defeat, which leaves the Falcons’ finals hopes in the balance.