GWV Rebels' key phrase this week was 'response'.
Coming off a lacklustre round three performance, Rebels coach David Loader said the NAB League program had identified it needed a response in its upcoming clash against Sydney Swans. And it got exactly what it was after when its group knocked off the academy outfit, 87 to 56 to start the year 2-1.
"We started poorly, Sydney got the first seven shots on goals and it was 3.3 to nothing but our lads dug their feet in and looked quite good after," Loader said. "We kicked six unanswered goals in the second quarter and were in control of the game."
South Warrnambool's Henry Rhodes made his NAB League debut, with Loader confident the junior talent had a bright future ahead of him.
"Henry may say, 'well I didn't do much', but it's him going to a completely different level of football," Loader said. "He had a couple good moments throughout the game, he's a great kid, bright, and he's only going to get better."
Another Rooster continuing to impress Loader in recent weeks is Will White.
"Will's not a massive possession getter, but he plays team footy with his pressure on the opposition," the coach said.
Loader said he was pleased with how the squad had handled its early rounds.
"It's really quite interesting, the dynamic is so different to last year," he said. "It's a totally new group, it's a group that hasn't played a lot of footy in the last few years. I think we can improve a lot and we'll be really tested against some of the Melbourne sides, like everyone is."
He also credited the dedication of the program's regional-based players.
"Today was a home game in Melbourne, so for these guys to hop in a car at 8am, drive to Melbourne finish at 5pm and then have another three and a half hours trip home, they're doing a wonderful job with it all," he said.
Meanwhile, several Rebels' under 16 players took to Ikon Park on Sunday in a trial match for Vic Country. Koroit's Mitch Lloyd joined Flynn Penry (Cobden) and Myles Sinnott (Camperdown) as local representatives.
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