SO WHERE does North Ballarat City sit in Ballarat Football League premiership race?
Peach’s North City were all the rage in Red Onion Ballarat Football League pre-season flag talk.
After reaching last year’s preliminary final, it recruited strongly to add to depth and the platform appeared in place for another massive campaign.
Right now, there is a stack of work to be done if this is to be fulfilled and coach Robbie Waters and his players know it.
It is only early days and it has been hurt by injuries to the likes of Ayden George, Simon McCartin and Shaun Lyle along the way, but two wins and two losses going into round six remains below par and has North City in a mid-table bottleneck and needing to get momentum.
City remains hopeful tough onballer Ayden George will be in action. George has missed the past two outings with a niggling calf injury – and City lost both.
He trained well early in the week and will be monitored leading into the Sunday clash. McCartin and Ben Edwards, each returning from hamstring injuries, could also be in the mix.
It is a welcome boost for City.
The last thing coach Waters wants is to be launching a finals campaign from the lower reaches of the top six. This means getting some major scalps.
City’s only wins have come across bottom two Lake Wendouree and Sebastopol.
It is time to stand up – against reigning premier Redan.
“This is a big test for us against last year’s premiers, a huge test,” Waters said.
“We’re two (wins) and two (losses) and they’re five-and-zip. We’ve got to pull our finger out.”
The L&H Lions are doing everything right.
They are unbeaten with five wins and only Sunbury’s superior percentage is denying Redan top position.
This match-up will be the best indication so far of where North Ballarat City sits in the big picture.
Lions’ co-coach Eammon Gill expects a tough bout.
“North City has shown last year that it’s a good side and we saw early in the year they’ve shown they’re a strong side again,” Gill said.
“We know they’ll be out to get back on the winner’s list but we’re looking to keep building our momentum.
“It’s a big game for both teams.”
There can be no denying the way Redan keeps on keeping on.
There remains the backbone of joint coach Brendan Peace, Ryan Waight, Jarrod Edwards and Dean Chester, but now there is Nathan Horbury and recruit Grant Bell leading through a new breed featuring Adrian Meyer, Jarrett Giampaolo, Brenton Riordan, Tom Lamb who are providing that extra edge. And this where North Ballarat City will need to stretch.
It is all about depth.
It is the players in the lower reaches of a team who make the different in matches of this nature.
Jason McNamara, Shaun Lyle, Keenan George and Chris Drew will do the job.
This is a match though that only a four-quarter team effort will deliver the goods.