Roosters deem Keeble fit for Scorpions clash

MIDFIELD-forward James Keeble has been cleared to play for North Ballarat Roosters against Casey Scorpions.

North Ballarat’s James Keeble has been cleared to play. PICTURE: Kate Healy

North Ballarat’s James Keeble has been cleared to play. PICTURE: Kate Healy

Keeble, who missed last round with a hamstring niggle, passed final fitness checks on Friday night, the eve of the clash, and proved he would be able to take on significant minutes at Eureka Stadium.

Selkirk Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald said the midfield-forward role increasingly demanded the endurance of a midfielder in the Victorian Football League.

Roosters medical staff were confident Keeble could deliver this.

Keeble returns to the line-up with North Melbourne-listed defender Cam Delaney, who has been sidelined all season with a foot injury.

Delaney has been training solidly for the past month to prepare for his return.

Both inclusions are set to bolster the Roosters, who have been focused on ensuring they are mentally and physically ready for their next challenge after last week’s shock upset against Box Hill.

FitzGerald said the tightness of the VFL ladder was a reminder of the closeness in this competition.

Casey has three wins for the season and, while a young team, the Scorpions had proven more than once how spirited they could be, FitzGerald said.

Scorpions captain Evan Panozza, speaking on the VFL podcast this week, said it had been a rollercoaster year form-wise but he was starting to feel they were falling in line with AFL partner club Melbourne’s resurgence.

“It’s an interesting one ... the club (Melbourne) is much happier than previous years and definitely enjoying Paul Roos,” Panozza said.

The Roosters, meanwhile, are hunting a fifth consecutive win.

This is a chance – in what FitzGerald says is the first in a long, long time – to have a positive ledger midway through the season.

They aim to have five wins from eight starts.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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