VFL: Roosters ‘need to step up’

North Ballarat Roosters have made two changes to their line up as they look to bounce back from their 91-point loss.

Marc Greig addresses his troops last year. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Marc Greig addresses his troops last year. Picture: Lachlan Bence

James Lukich and Billy Jones come into the round six side for the Victorian Football League clash with Werribee at Eureka Stadium on Saturday, while Tim Speirs has been omitted and ruckman Tobias Thoolen is out with a knee injury.

Coach Marc Greig said one of the biggest concerns for the Roosters was Werribee’s height with North Melbourne players Braydon Preuss in the ruck and Majak Daw at full forward.

“We will try to adapt, read their hits and put a bit more emphasis on the midfield to do a better job than on the weekend, because we were too reactive to the Williamstown midfielders,” Greig said.

Lukich has been selected as a big body midfielder who could play a role at the stoppages and in the midfield.

“We want him to use his size and strength,” Greig said.

“He might be able to lock down on one of their key midfielders at various stages, but he also has the ability to go forward or down back if we get stretched.”

Meanwhile, Jones gets another chance after being omitted last week.

“He has played three games so far and does all the right things,” Greig said.

“He is one of those guys who can come in and play on the wing or down back… it is another opportunity for him to put his best foot forward and keep pressure on the other guys (in the team).”

Mitch Rodd, Lane Buckwell and Coby Perry all remain in the side after niggles in last week’s game. 

Greig said it was important to get the right balance with team selection.

“It is one of those tricky things where, while we were poor for three quarters (against Williamstown), we had a good last quarter and we want to see if these boys can show that for four quarters this week, particularly early,” he said. 

“We want to put a bit of trust in a lot more of the players and, while we could have made another four or five changes because of form, we’ve got to give guys another opportunity to see if they can turn their form around and do the job.”

Greig said he was not willing to rush players back from injury in a long season and expected more to return after next week’s bye, but said injury also provided opportunity for others to step up.

“We know the only way to learn is to get games into young guys and new guys,” he said.

“But there is a lot of pressure on spots, purely because blokes aren’t performing at the level that we think they can. There are some guys that need to step up, for sure.”

B: N. Weightman, L. Buckwell, T. Lockyer; HB: L. Herbert, B. Payne, M. Austin; C: N.  Rippon, L.  George, M.  Rodd; HF: J. Cooke-Harrison, H. Walters, J. Keeble; F: L. Cassidy, B. Cox, A. Hooper; R: N. Nott, J. Lukich, M. Johnston; Int: B. Simpson, C. Perry, T. Speirs, B. Edwards, B. Jones, S. Lyle, K. Mellington, N. Hausler, J. Wheelahan (23rd)