North Ballarat takes calculated gamble ahead of Zebras clash

SMALL trade-offs are a bid to put North Ballarat Roosters in the best position to battle Sandringham.

Firstly, the public holiday allowed the Selkirk Roosters a morning training session for a valuable few hours extra recovery before game day, at the expense of breaking routine Friday night time on the track – although, players enjoyed working in daylight.

Secondly, the Roosters selected mobile tall Bryce Curnow mindful of his limited minutes, knowing Curnow could swing between key roles in defence and up forward and, importantly, Curnow carved up the Zebras when he last met them.

Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald reiterated there were no respites in the Victorian Football League.

His team has taken a calculated gamble in a bid to be sharp for hosting the Zebras at Eureka Stadium this afternoon.

The Roosters have been close, very close, to fancied rivals Collingwood and Essendon at each clubs’ spiritual base in the opening rounds.

Early lapses set up a buffer they could not break either time.

“We need to start well and take our opportunities,” FitzGerald said.

“We had a couple of really gettable goals early last week that we really need to try and convert.”

Once the Roosters find their rhythm, their attack on the ball and defensive pressure has been impressive.

FitzGerald said his team just needed a win.

Sandringham is undefeated from two games this season – a win against Frankston and draw with reigning premier Box Hills Hawks last week.

The Zebras’ AFL partner St Kilda has dropped back ruckman Billy Longer and skilful midfielder Shane Savage, an emergency for the Saints this week, to make the trek to Ballarat.

Four of the five players St Kilda has recalled for a bout with Essendon tonight, including former North Ballarat Rebel Seb Ross, were pivotal in the Zebras’ clash against Box Hill.

The Roosters’ emergencies Lucas Cook, Coleman Schache and Sam Scott have been put on notice and they could be needed.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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