Standards lift as Roosters line up in BFL

Talent: Former St Kilda rookie-listed player Jordan Staley now plays for North Ballarat Roosters and was dominant for East Point on Saturday. PICTURE: Lachlan Bence

Talent: Former St Kilda rookie-listed player Jordan Staley now plays for North Ballarat Roosters and was dominant for East Point on Saturday. PICTURE: Lachlan Bence

THE changes to North Ballarat Roosters’ development team this year are working wonders in the Ballarat Football League.

And never was it more evident than on Saturday.

With the Roosters cutting their development (or reserves) team this year from the VFL system, we are seeing more high-quality footballers playing in the BFL each week, undoubtedly lifting the standard of the league.

The effect of such prolific footballers shone even brighter than normal on Saturday, as North Ballarat faced the bye and a

number of its usual starting players went back to their home BFL clubs.

Across a number of matches, we saw VFL players step back into the BFL system and tear games apart.

Nathan Horbury was simply dominant for Redan along with Callum Currie and Chris Giampaolo, Jordan Staley was undeniable for East Point, while James Lukich and Sam Conroy were both among the best for Ballarat.

And although not a Roosters player, Daniel Toman from Bendigo Gold was clearly Sunbury’s best performer.

Lake Wendouree faced the bye, but the impact of Lucas Anderson and Tom Carey this year has been

crucial in the Lakers’ rise up the ladder.

Some players will only be available on occasion for the BFL, but with the development league no longer in existence, there are more VFL players playing local football than ever before.

Speaking after his side smashed Sunbury by 51 points on Saturday, Redan coach Eammon Gill said the new system had benefited clubs who had tried to promote their home-grown talent to VFL ranks.

“It’s good for local footy, you can promote your young guys to have a go at the VFL system and if they have a bye or they are not quite good enough then they come back and play local footy,” he said.

“I think it’s a lot better system what it is now than what it was.

“When they have players from a higher level come back and play, their leadership and just the little things is a bonus for every club.”

BFL operations manager Aaron Nunn agreed.

“It’s definitely lifted the standard of the league, and will also help with our interleague side,” Nunn said.

“It’s been great for us as a league.”

With players required to play three BFL games in order to qualify for finals (and the Roosters facing two byes this year), the effect is likely to stretch well into the BFL finals.

It’s a move that can only benefit the BFL.

patrick.nolan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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