BALLARAT Football League interleague coach Shane Skontra says having North Ballarat Roosters head coach Gerard FitzGerald as a mentor for interleague preparation can only strengthen Ballarat’s chances against the powerful Goulburn Valley Football League.
With the crucial match just two weeks away against the former number one ranked league in Victoria, Skontra said the help he has received from FitzGerald had been invaluable in both shaping and coaching the side.
The three-time VFL premiership coach for the Roosters has filled the role of coaching advisor throughout the interleague process, joining the star-studded list of assistant coaches trying to steer Ballarat to victory.
Skontra had already appointed Rob Waters, Gavin Webb, Brad Murphy, Adam Sewell, Matt Cape and Damien Lubeek to be assistant coaches.
“It’s been a massive help having Fitzy across, he’s got a wealth of experience with North Ballarat obviously, but also at interleague level,” he said.
“He’s been sensational to bounce ideas off and just for everyone to learn from.”
The two-time victorious coach of the Central Highlands Football League interleague side admitted Ballarat would head into the clash with the GVFL as underdogs, but said it was the spirit and passion for the league that he wanted to draw on to get his team over the line.
GVFL was ranked the best league in Victoria in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
“We’ll go in as underdogs, there’s no doubt,” Skontra said.
“I can’t speak for the GVFL, but there is a genuine passion for interleague in Ballarat and that’s the one thing we’ve really focused on. Everyone who is playing wants to play and wants to win.”
The BFL squad has a further three training sessions planned before the May 24 match in Shepparton.
The winner of the game will advance to the top ranked match next year, playing for a chance to be crowned the best country league in Victoria.