Players pack up flag and disappear

THE North Ballarat Roosters mysteriously vanished yesterday.Team players, coaches and officials packed up their flag and disappeared "somewhere down the coast'', according to friends and family of the newly crowned Victorian Football League premiers.They too, had been left with a vague itinerary and no idea of the Roosters' return.Phone calls went unanswered and left for voice mail to pick up.Not even a sniffer dog could track down iconic mascot Razza the Rooster.It could only be concluded that the Roosters were savouring a moment together far away from anyone who knew the enormity of their achievement.North Ballarat made sporting history in the region on Friday night by capturing its first VFL premiership.The Selkirk Roosters pummelled Port Melbourne by 45 points - helped by a dominant fourth quarter - before more than 11,600 people at the Docklands stadium.It was third time lucky for the Roosters, who triumphed 18.12 (120) to 11.9 (75) in their third grand final appearance since joining the VFL in 1996.Powerhouse full forward Josh Smith booted five goals and played an important back-up role in the ruck.The North Melbourne-listed player was awarded the Norm Goss Medal for best-on-ground.A club family day welcomed the Roosters back to Ballarat on Saturday.Premiership players mingled with supporters at AUSTAR Arena in the quiet, relaxed gathering.Many remained to watch the AFL grand final before dispersing.The mood was jubilant when the premiership flag appeared, despite finding nowhere to successfully hang it - for the moment.Fans looked forward to its official unfurling.But yesterday belonged exclusively the Roosters' players and officials.

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