VFL: relaxed Roosters easing their way into finals

THERE is no sweating on what happens this final round – North Ballarat Roosters will play finals.

High-five: Bryce Curnow celebrates a goal with Lachie George. 

High-five: Bryce Curnow celebrates a goal with Lachie George. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

Coach Gerard FitzGerald said it was a nice feeling in contrast to the extra worry the past couple of seasons.

But the Selkirk Roosters want to enjoy this luxury wisely.

They play clear Victorian Football League benchmark Port Melbourne on the Borough’s turf, which will host most finals, on Saturday.

This comes a week after the Roosters hosted and narrowly lost to top-two aspirant Williamstown.

FitzGerald said he could not have scripted a better end to the Roosters’ home-and-away rounds.

“It’s like the start of the year when we deliberately chose high-quality practise games so we would be conditioned and match-hardened to start the season – we should be match-hardened for finals,” he said.

A finals guarantee has allowed the Roosters a chance for some forward planning.

They can rest key players like onballer Nick Rippon (calf) and Oli Tate (hamstring) in a bid to ensure they will be ready for finals, while also getting extra game time into players like Chris Giampaolo and James Tsitas, who were both recalled to the line-up last week.

The Roosters can test tall-forward Angus Grigg, who was recruited to be the main marking target.

Grigg played VFL early in the season before a series of injuries forced him to the sidelines.

He has been building form in the Central Murray Football League with Cohuna, where he has been particularly damaging the past three rounds for a combined 21 goals.

Grigg is promoted on the back of an 11-goal haul.

FitzGerald said wanting a settled side for finals was a football myth.

The Roosters would adapt each week to put the best team on the field from the players available and to match the rival they were facing.

Testing Grigg late in the season would add depth and flexibility.

Port Melbourne is a formidable assignment but the Roosters know well what it takes to pull off the seeming unlikely win in the Borough.

The Roosters stormed back from six goals down, 20 minutes into the third quarter there last year, and won by 10 points.

This time though, they expect the Borough to be wary.

• Meanwhile, instead of just reading up on the opposition, Roosters players read stories to children for National Reading Hour this week.

The Roosters shared hot milo and teddy bear biscuits with young fans for story-time at Ballarat Library to promote the benefits of reading to children for a few minutes each day.


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