NORTH Ballarat Rebels have moved into third place on the TAC Cup ladder after a hard-fought 18-point win over fellow top- four side Western Jets at Eureka Stadium, Ballarat, on Sunday.
The Rebels got off to a slow start in wet, sluggish conditions, as the visitors opened up a two-goal lead at the first change.
But the host responded, with Edenhope-Apsley product Oscar McDonald kicking his second goal to help pull the margin back to three points at the major break.
The Rebels opened up an eight-point lead at three-quarter-time before claiming a 7.10 (52) to 5.4 (34) victory – their seventh successive triumph.
McDonald was the game’s leading goal-scorer, finishing with three majors, while captain Keegan Mason and defender Jacob O’Beirne were also named among the side’s best players.
Rebels coach David Loader said it was a pleasing win given the circumstances.
“There were tough conditions, but I thought our guys adapted as the day went on and we got better and better at just finding a way to get the ball forward,” he said.
“To have to play in those trying conditions and to come out with a win, that’s reward for effort.
"It’s exciting times – I think the boys are just enjoying having a few wins and playing some good footy.”
Horsham ruckman Dan Souter, who offered assistance to Laharum product Mason, made his TAC Cup debut.
Loader said it was a good learning experience.
“Dan came in and had a run around in the ruck and probably learned a lot in how to play against guys with bigger bodies than him,” he said.
Loader praised the performances of a number of the Rebels’ Wimmera players.
“Oscar McDonald played forward and I’m not sure what his stats will read like, but he competed really hard for us,” he said.
“Jacob O’Beirne was really solid down back and Keegan Mason battled hard in the ruck for a big period of the day against bigger opponents.”
The day was also a fundraiser for the Rebels, who raised more than $1000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities through raffles, auctions and donations.