KEY tall Lucas Cook’s inclusion allows North Ballarat Roosters flexibility to try to shut down one of the league’s strongest forwards, Frankston’s Khan Haretuku.
Selkirk Roosters’ coach, Gerard FitzGerald, had confidence in Cook’s ability to take on the Dolphin, should Haretuku venture close to the goal face, just as Cook had locked down Essendon’s Tom Bellchambers in a final round Victorian Football League match last season.
Cook is promoted on good form for Mallee league club Hopetoun.
There is plenty to be wary about when it comes to Frankston, who drew with AFL franchise Richmond in round four and finished close to the Carlton-aligned Northern Blues and Melbourne-aligned Casey Scorpions earlier in the season.
They arrive at Eureka Stadium on Sunday still just needing that breakthrough win.
FitzGerald said the Dolphins were in a similar position the Roosters were in last round, before capturing a two-point win against Footscray.
The Roosters, close to competition leaders, had had their breakthrough win and had to build on it.
“That match was great for confidence and belief,” FitzGerald said.
“We had been close all season and even saying we were in games, but nothing is better then when you win against quality competition.”
FitzGerald will break the VFL/VFA coaching record this round with his 314th game but preparations have been focused on the Dolphins.
The Roosters return from a bye round but players have maintained a structured training program.
FitzGerald said the Dolphins would serve up a great example on why players should buy little into ladder positions, yet to claim a win, the Dolphins were going to be tough.
“We need to bring the right mindset and play better for longer,” FitzGerald said.
North Melbourne-listed defender Brad McKenzie will rejoin the Roosters’ line-up, trading places with Kangaroos skipper Andrew Swallow, who will make his long-awaited AFL return from a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Swallow played two matches with the Roosters before the bye.