THE Ballarat versus North Ballarat City rivalry may be one of the Red Onion Ballarat Football League’s fiercer ones off the field, despite its relative youth.
However, the rival coaches won’t let that get in the way of their longer-term goals.
Both teams are resting importanRt players for the match, at Simonds Park tomorrow: Ayden and Tyler George in Peach’s North City’s case, while Ballarat coach Shane Hutchinson has rested himself.
Hutchinson said it was an important match for the club, but not because of the two clubs’ antagonistic history.
“At this stage of the year, it is an important game. Win it and we’re three and one; lose it and we’re two and two,” Hutchinson says.
“They’re top of the ladder, of course you want to beat them. That’s more important than any off-field rivalry.”
On the positive side of the ledger, Garrett Liston returns for the Simonds Swans, while Shane Moore has been promoted for his first senior game this season.
Moore is back with the Swans after several seasons with Mininera club Lismore-Derrinallum.
Ballarat will be without Chris Prockter, whose shoulder injury may be worse than originally thought.
Prockter may delay surgery until the end of year. If not, and the surgery goes ahead, Prockter will miss a major chunk of the season.
North City coach Rob Waters says it is the on-field history between the clubs that will matter tomorrow.
“We’ve never beaten them at their home ground and we haven’t done that against Redan either.
“It’s obviously a big game for those reasons,” he says.
“Off-field there might be a rivalry between their committee and our committee but more importantly for us is Ballarat was our biggest loss last year and embarrassed us.”
PREDICTION: North Ballarat City by five points