NORTH Ballarat Rebels will be close to full strength in the TAC Cup on Sunday.
With no Vic Country commitments in the National AFL Under-18 Championships, the Rebels regain Matt Crouch, Tanner Smith and Tony Lockyer for a clash with the Sandringham Dragons.
They were also hoping to get back Vic Country representatives Tyler Blake and Michael Close.
Blake was last night ruled out with ankle soreness, with the Rebels not prepared to risk him ahead other championships games.
Close missed a trip to Perth with Vic Country because of an ankle injury and is still not fit enough to play.
As well as the Vic Country representatives, the Rebels have also added Will Pomorin, Charles Murrie and Daniel Bell.
Pomorin was 23rd player for the North Ballarat Roosters on Saturday, while Murrie from Hamilton is making his TAC Cup debut.
Pomorin has been replaced by Nick Rippon (East Ballarat) on the Roosters’ interchange.
This will be Rippon’s first game with the Roosters.
He is the fifth player from the Rebels to fill this role in the VFL this year.
The Rebels go into the match in new circumstances, as the competition leader and top position on the line.
They moved to the helm with a highly impressive win over Gippsland Power on Saturday and now the pressure is well and truly on to stay there.
Sandringham will be a tough assignment, also at full strength.
The Dragons are sitting fourth, just two games away, and this will be the only time they meet North Ballarat.
Rebels coach David Loader will be sure to remind his players on match day that the hard work is only just beginning, now that they have moved to the top.
The improvement must continue on a weekly basis to maintain the momentum.
North Ballarat’s aerial strength is one of its features.
This was on show for everyone to see against Gippsland.
Conditions are not expected to be conducive to this type of games, with rain likely to persist, but the Rebels are equally well equipped at ground level.