VFL: season-defining time for North Ballarat Roosters

CHIRNSIDE Park must send a shiver through North Ballarat Roosters' camp.

North Ballarat Roosters' coach Gerard FitzGerald

North Ballarat Roosters' coach Gerard FitzGerald

The road trip certainly makes Selkirk Roosters' coach Gerard FitzGerald think twice - he has only chalked up one Victorian Football League victory at the venue in 12 past seasons, in two stints, at the Roosters' helm.

That win was in 2011. Their last two visits to Werribee Tigers' turf has resulted in an 82 and 25 points losses.

If ever the Roosters need to overcome their Werribee hoodoo in the VFL, it is now.

Despite stringing together six victories to burst it into finals calculations, it has taken just one defeat to have North Ballarat switch its focus from eyeing a possible top four finish to fighting to stay in the top eight.

A 29-point stumble against Footscray last week ended a six-game winning streak.

Seven matches remain for the Roosters and on a tight VFL ladder, with the fifth-ranked Werribee one of three top-five teams still to face, winning is critical.

FitzGerald said strong form early in the season did not covert into early wins and the Roosters had to work even hard to stay in the finals contest.

"We've seven to go and you start to realise you can see the end of the home-and-away tunnel," FitzGerald said.

"It would be lovely to finish in a good position and look back pleased on what the players have delivered. We've still got a lot of work to go.

"We're right in the midst of a season-defining period of the season in a very even competition."

The Roosters have already proven, multiple times this season, they can defy the odds by drawing on team belief in game plan and structures.

They must pull together again to build momentum with the unpredictable Carlton-aligned Northern Blues and the nothing-to-lose folding Bendigo Gold ahead to the Roosters' final bye.

There is plenty attention on this match from the club's AFL partner North Melbourne, which also shares a partial alignment with the Tigers.

Kangaroos' head coach Brad Scott and long-time staunch Kangaroos' supporter, former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting will be special guests on the sidelines.

The Roosters regain Aaron Mullett, Brad McKenzie and Max Warren, who made his AFL debut last week, from the Kangaroos.


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