CLEANER disposals, control at the stoppages, tight defence and pace were the foundations for a North Ballarat five-goal win over Sandringham in the VFL yesterday.
The combination allowed the Selkirk Roosters to seize control in a 10-goal to four second half at the seaside location.
Victory moves the Roosters back into the top eight and, in doing so, knocks the Zebras out.
The Roosters made their break in the third quarter, booting six goals, to turn a one-goal half-time deficit into a 19-point lead by the final break.
Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald did some fine-tuning in the huddle and called for his players to remain focused on structures.
The Roosters maintained intensity and closed out the job.
“It was important we stayed true to our method and made a real stand in the game,” FitzGerald said.
“I congratulate the boys on doing that.”
Persistence was the key.
Play was locked in a tight battle through the first half. The Zebras had just as much at stake at the Roosters in this clash.
FitzGerald praised his players’ tenacity to snatch a lead kicking against a strong sea breeze in the first quarter before the Zebras booted two majors to bite back by the break.
The Zebras booted three unanswered goals in the first 20 minutes of the second but the Roosters clawed back three in reply to shut out the term.
Staying strong and lifting their game up a notch, the Roosters completely outclassed the Zebras in the second half – they were faster, sharper and more tenacious across the field.
Forward structures were in the spotlight at Eureka Stadium this week after a below-par effort against Bendigo.
The Roosters responded by going inside 50 metres 58 times to the Zebras’ 50, with an efficient return of 20 marks and 18 goals.
Defensive pressure across the field again gave the Roosters chances, but improved precision was the key.
Tenacious onballer Myles Sewell was the key playmaker with 34 disposals (18 by foot), nine clearances, nine inside-50s and seven tackles.
Cruize Garlett (28 touches), Nick Couch (27) and Cam Richardson on the outside were also key drivers in the win.
Small forward Derick Micallef was dangerous up forward with five goals 21 disposals.
Returned midfielder Ben Cunnington chipped in three, but it was rebounding defender Brad McKenzie, dragged forward in a tagging role, who helped seal the Roosters’ control with two goals early in the fourth.
The Roosters moved straight into preparations for a six-day turnabout to consolidate form in a road trip to Coburg next week.
North Ballarat 18.14 (122)
Sandringham 13.14 (92)