NORTH Ballarat Rebels secured a TAC Cup double chance on the back of a standout Willem Drew final-round performance.
The Koroit premiership player gathered 28 disposals and kicked a goal in a best-on-ground display in the Rebels’ 10.19 (79) to 7.15 (57) win over Eastern Ranges at a blustery Eureka Stadium on Saturday.
The third-placed Rebels, along with the other seven finalists, will have a will have a week off before launching their premiership tilt.
North Ballarat coach Gerard FitzGerald said Drew stood tall in a hard-fought contest.
“What impresses me about Drew is he is a genuine competitor and each week you know you’re going to get a nice, honest effort,” he said.
“And every now and then he gives you a really pleasing performance. With his performance yesterday, he continually tried to lead and lift his teammates.
“What I like about him is he wins the contested ball and works very hard without it and also sets up good ball movement.”
South Warrnambool midfielder Hugh McCluggage (29 touches, two goals) was also integral in the win.
FitzGerald said the week’s rest before the finals would be beneficial.
“It’s part of the philosophy of the management of younger bodies,” he said.
“Wear and tear on young bodies is something sports science (people look at).”
Geelong Falcons, featuring Cobden ruckman Sean Darcy, and Oakleigh Chargers, which boast North Warrnambool Eagles forward Dion Johnstone, will also see September action.
The Falcons secured a double chance and the Chargers, the reigning premier, finished sixth after a strong finish to the season.