EACH move North Ballarat Roosters have made the past three weeks has been calculated preparation to meet Collingwood.
As soon as the Victorian Football League fixture was released, the Roosters knew their season opener at Victoria Park would be a massive challenge.
Hosting Werribee, a finalist last season, at Eureka Stadium on Saturday was the third and final practice match deliberately chosen by the Roosters to take players out of their comfort zone.
The Tigers arrived with a large squad that exposed areas the Roosters must fine-tune, particularly efficiency inside the forward-50, before they will be ready to face the Magpies.
In a bid to get match time into more players, Werribee brought on seven new players for the second half.
The Tigers’ fresh legs and windy conditions made for a hard-running, physical game, the Tigers prevailing by 46 points.
Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald said it was how his team learned from all three practice matches – including unimaginative play against Geelong and clever play against Richmond – that was most important.
“Our entire practice series has been aiming to beat Collingwood at Collingwood.”
FitzGerald was impressed with the energy key forward Jordan Staley offered in a supportive ruck role to American Eric Wallace against fellow North Melbourne-listed ruck Majak Daw.
Returning onballer Nick Couch also made a steady start in his first game back from a knee reconstruction.
The Roosters will open their season against Collingwood this Saturday.