NORTH Ballarat Rebels have vaulted into third position on the TAC Cup ladder with a hard fought round 12 win over Western Jets on Sunday.
The Rebels delivered a 7.10 (52) to 5.4 (34) victory at Eureka Stadium in conditions that reduced football back to its most basic fundamentals.
Three goals to defender-turned-forward Oscar McDonald, including the sealer from off the ground at the 19-minute mark of the final term, saw the home side record its seventh win on the trot.
Rebels conceded three goals to one in the first term and trailed by three points at the major break.
The young group produced a stellar second-half which held the Jets to just two behinds in mostly torrential conditions.
Jets pressed the Rebels for much of the third term, but resilient defenders Jacob O'Beirne and Ben Simpson played a key role repelling many of the visitors' forward thrusts.
The Rebels midfield, led by Tom Ludeman and ruckman Keegan Mason, dominated at the stoppages from half-time, while Dan Souter and Ben Lusby showed plenty in their debut appearances.
Souter, a 196-centimetre prospect from Horsham, gave Mason a much needed chop-out in the ruck against Jets giant Mark Orr.
Meanwhile, Lusby's competitiveness drew high praise from Rebels coach David Loader.
Loader also praised the character of his group post-match and lauded his players' ability to change tactics at the midway point of the match.
"I thought our guys adapted as the day went on - we got better and better and just found a way to get the ball forward," he said.
"When we did that we got some good results and we got some good inside 50 entries which resulted in goals.
"We were certainly sluggish early on and that's an area that we'll address.
"To have to play in those trying conditions and come out with a win shows reward for effort."
Rebels will play sixth-placed Geelong Falcons at Warrnambool's Reid Oval this Sunday.