STATE PRIDE was on the line and all three North Ballarat Roosters in the Big V stepped up their games.
Midfielder Myles Sewell, known for thriving in the big games, was among the Victorian Football League’s best in a 108-point trouncing of the Tasmanian State League in Hobart Saturday afternoon.
Debutants Dean Towers impressed with his run-and-carry off the wing and Liam Hoy produced some athletic spoils and offered plenty of drive from the back pocket.
Selkirk Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald, who was in charge of the back lines, was proud of each.
FitzGerald said the VFL’s best – a mix of experienced campaigners and rising talent – had gelled well under a tried-and-true scheduling.
“We’ve had success for a few years with only one week of intense preparation. The bye means we can devote the whole week to give good attention to detail,” FitzGerald said.
“Tassie really did give their all – the boys playing for Tassie were all honoured to be playing for their state, particularly on such a lovely ground and on a television broadcast.”
The Gary Ayres-coached VFL’s superior skill and fitness levels simply outclassed an honourable TSL at Bellerive Oval.
The TSL kicked the first goals of the first three quarters but the VFL response came thick and fast. A seven-goal final term against a goal-less TSL emphatically sealed the result.
The VFL continued finetuning, especially with a keen eye on improving the kick-to-handball ratio and talk on-field.
Ayres, in a post-match broadcast interview, said the VFL wanted to showcase player flair and every player took his chance.
VFL big man Wayde Skipper (Port Melbourne) was locked in a good battle with fellow former AFL player Jason Laycock for the TSL.
Sewell (from Newlyn) chalked up 26 possessions in a star onball unit with Port Melbourne duo Shane Valenti and captain John Baird, who was awarded best on ground.
The 24-year-old was named in the VFL’s best with Towers, who caught attention for his speed and run to break lines into goal.
Towers (from Colac) improved his game as the match wore on and FitzGerald said the 22-year-old would have done no harm to his reputation.
The speedy wingman, interviewed post-match, clearly enjoyed the challenge, in a rapid rise from Colac ranks in the past two years.
“It’s great being out here with all the star VFL guys. I wouldn’t have imagined this a couple of years ago, playing in Tassie,” Towers said.
“(The coaches) have all got some pretty good coaching highlights and resumes. It’s good playing for them all.”
Hoy (from Warrnambool) lifted his game in the VFL’s tight backlines, was strong in one-on-one contests and driving forward.
FitzGerald enjoyed a chance to concentrate solely on defence with a stellar line-up alongside Hoy, including Collingwood captain Kris Pendlebury, relentless Werribee Tiger Kyle Hartigan and Port Melbourne rebounding defender Sam Pleming.
VFL 20.17 (137)
TSL 3.11 (29)