NORTH Ballarat Rebels coach David Loader says a bye this week couldn’t have come at a better time for his side after its eight-game winning streak ended on Saturday.
An injury-depleted Rebels line-up was overrun in the second half by Eastern Ranges at Box Hill, suffering a 39-point loss. Loader said the Rebels lost three players to injury before half-time, severely limiting rotations, before Warrnambool midfielder Thomas Ludeman was forced from the field with a bad corkie early in the final term.
He said the 13.10 (88) to 7.7 (49) result wasn’t surprising given the injuries, the fact his side was coming off a six-day break after playing in very heavy conditions in Warrnambool and the Ranges were at full strength, having regained private school players.
“We didn’t play that well all day,” Loader said. “We were still in the game at three-quarter-time.”
Portland ruckman Rowan Marshall and his Tigers teammate Tom Templeton continued their impressive form, while Warrnambool running player Luke McLeod was named in the best for his work on a wing, half-forward flank and half-back flank.
“I’ve been really pleased with this young player’s ability to play in a structure,” Loader said.
“He’s a real thinker.”
The Geelong Falcons snapped a two-game losing streak with a 28-point win over Gippsland Power.
The Rebels and Falcons are entrenched in the top six with four games to come.