Lack of focus costly for Rebels

CONSISTENCY is top of North Ballarat Rebels’ agenda this week.

A 15-minute lapse was all it took to unravel the Rebels’ good steady work – Bendigo Pioneers seized momentum and forged ahead to build an 18-point win in TAC Cup under-18s in Bendigo on Saturday.

But, consistency will be a big ask for the Rebels this week as they juggle injuries from the Bendigo clash and unavailability with a handful of players making a trip to Darwin with St Patrick’s College.

Rebels coach David Loader said preparations to meet Murray Bushrangers, as part of a TAC Cup country triple-header in Bendigo, would be a challenge.

But likely changes offered a chance for more players to step up.

“We’re certainly going to have to work harder for longer periods of time rather than drift in and out of play,” Loader said.

“You can’t afford to lose concentration at TAC Cup level footy because the opposition will make you pay for it.”

Handling the elite competition’s pressure is another must for the Rebels, who Loader said were beginning to learn “how deep they have to dig” for a win at this level.

Key to this will be making the most of scoring chances.

The Rebels were four goals down at the final break and at times looked likely to reel the Pioneers back in. 

Splayed shots, often from seemingly easy gets, prevented this.

Loader said his team had all the play in the final term – but midway through the quarter the Pioneers booted a goal that put the Rebels back to where they had started, stuck in a tough catch-up game.

Half-back Josh Webster, a proven consistent performer, Jacob O’Beirne in the back pocket and forward-midfielder Tom Templeton were the Rebels’ most steady and strongest players.

Loader said all players needed to be playing their role and converting on the scoreboard.

These are processes the Rebels coaching staff will also review this week.

• North Ballarat Rebels’ development team chalked up its second win in the Victorian under-16 championships.

The Rebels claimed an 83-point win against Bendigo Pioneers as a curtain-raiser to the  TAC Cup match. This  followed a 20-point win against Geelong Falcons last week.

Development teams move into the final rounds of competition in Bendigo on Friday, leading into a TAC Cup country triple-header on Saturday.

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