NINETEEN-year-old ruck prospect Nick Hausler summed up the fundamental prospect of what the North Ballarat Roosters program is all about in one sentence this past week.
“Learning a lot’s probably the key goal. Learning.”
This vital element and all it embodies seems to have become lost in the debate, speculation and entrenched bitter rivalries in the wider Ballarat community amid the latest twist of the city’s Victorian Football League club.
A strong leadership bid to rescue the club, on its board, has been abandoned on a technicality. The new major naming rights sponsor has walked.
Overlooked, in the eye of the storm, are the players and coaches preparing for a season only two months away.
Whatever happens to the Roosters is far bigger than this city and is definitely more important than long-held questions over a North Ballarat branding.
Hausler’s comment comes from a Fairfax Media interview in Warrnambool, his hometown, in a follow on the hard work he put in to earn a contract with the Roosters and what it means to join the Roosters: learning.
The Rebels’ TAC Cup graduate is shifting his game to Ballarat, specifically Redan, to sharpen his game in the Ballarat Football League while trying to push for VFL selection. He arrives from quality Hampden league powerhouse Koroit, where he planned to continue training when back home.
What he learns can only benefit and help set a tone for both clubs and the players around him.
Hausler is set to start studying teaching at Federation University in Ballarat. Our universities and trade opportunities are a big drawcard for young regional athletes wanting to pursue their studies and push their football to the highest level they can, without the extra pressure of metropolitan living.
This holistic opportunity has long been a pride of the club, as an advantage over rivals and good for Ballarat.
Roosters players are dedicated and driven athletes, forsaking the lure of bigger dollars from grassroots clubs, to test their game against the state’s best and AFL-listed players week-in and week-out. They strive to better their games in preparedness to line-up on full-time professionals in between their day jobs and studies.
That takes character.
The Roosters are led by a coach with a deep understanding of playing demands and the league. Hailing from the Wimmera, Marc Greig worked his way through Roosters and Rebels ranks in a decorated playing career.
Greig started learning the art of coaching as a player into his playing retirement and continues to learn in what will be his second season at the helm.
Then there is the strong band of behind-the-scenes Roosters – statisticians, video analysts, medical staff, strength and conditioning staff – fine-tuning their trades.
There are the grassroots coaches who spend time on match days or training learning from the Roosters’ processes to adapt in improving their clubs.
At the core, the Roosters are too invaluable to lose, not just from Ballarat, but from country Victoria.