VFL: Roosters bury Bendigo to end long-standing rivalry - photo gallery

LONG-STANDING Ballarat-Bendigo country rivalry was extinguished with a 79-point North Ballarat Roosters' win at Eureka Stadium onb Saturday.

This was their final showdown, with Bendigo to cease existing in the Victorian Football League at the season's end. They have been about the VFL in various guises since 1998 but, two years after severing ties with AFL club Essendon, Bendigo Gold will fold.

The final margin masks a competitive second quarter on Saturday, when Gold outscored the Selkirk Roosters 4.3 to 3.3 and nabbed the first goal of the third quarter to pull within 13 points.

Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald had warned players and supporters all week that Bendigo could be dangerous. The Roosters adapted quickly to changes in structures at half-time to then bury Gold in  12.7 to 3.3 second half.

Rooster Nick Rippon (31 disposals, 21 in the second half), led a tenacious onball brigade with Liam Anthony and Nick Peters to tear Bendigo apart.

Gold's early revival came after passionate words from coach Aussie Jones at the quarter-time huddle, telling his players the 27-point deficit at the first break was due to attitude rather than skill.

But once the Roosters started to dictate play again, Gold lost its sparkle.

The Roosters enter a bye round on two consecutive wins. They won five games in a seven-game stretch from their last break.

There is a tough four-game stanza to play and secure a finals spot - Coburg, Geelong then heavyweights Williamstown and Port Melbourne in the final two rounds.

The Roosters have chalked up eight wins this season and FitzGerald said nine wins would not be enough to guarantee finals, 10 maybe.