North Ballarat news

North's Lower goes higher

From Ballarat Courier

NORTH Ballarat will be without rising star and no-nonsense tagger Ed Lower for its biggest assignment of the Victorian Football League season - a preliminary final against Geelong at Port Melbourne tomorrow.

The Selkirk Roosters have lost Lower to the Kangaroos, with the 20-year-old to tackle Hawthorn in an AFL semi-final at the MCG tomorrow night.

Lower has been in superb form.

North Ballarat coach Gerard FitzGerald has had no hesitation giving Lower the biggest run-with roles in the opening two weeks of the finals.

Lower has not only shut down Bendigo Bombers and Sandringham, but also been one of the Roosters' most creative players.

Robbie Gregg and Kangaroos-listed Ben Hughes are at the front of the line to replace Lower.

But each has to prove his fitness after being sidelined with strained hamstrings.

Hughes was the most impressive of the two at Roosters training at AUSTAR Arena on Wednesday night.

Roosters wait on Kangaroos for final spots

From Ballarat Courier

NORTH Ballarat is in the hands of the Kangaroos if there are to be any major changes for tomorrow's Victorian Football League semi-final clash with Sandringham at Port Melbourne.

Prolific goalkicker Robbie Gregg remains the only question mark among the Selkirk Roosters' VFL listed players.

Gregg is struggling with hamstring soreness.

If coach Gerard FitzGerald rules him out, Matt Riggio is the most likely replacement to ensure an emphasis remains on pace and running power.

FitzGerald will make his call after training tonight.

The Kangaroos last night named Leigh Harding and Ed Lower on an extended interchange for their qualifying final battle with Geelong on Sunday.

Lower was close to North Ballarat's best in the startling 37-point victory over Bendigo Bombers on Saturday, while Harding made his biggest impact since returning from knee surgery mid-season.

This is the closest Harding has been to a return to the AFL, but he most likely going to have to wait a little longer before getting promoted.

If Lower is to force his way back into the Kangaroos line-up, he will have to squeeze out fellow youngster Andrew Swallow.

From Ballarat Courier

NORTH Ballarat shrugged off early nerves to crush wooden spoon favourite Tasmania by 109 points in the Victorian Football League at Launceston yesterday.

The outcome was just what the Selkirk Roosters needed on the back of a 112-point hiding at the hands of the Northern Bullants.

Tasmania stayed in touch until half-time, but then North Ballarat cut loose at Aurora Stadium in an early AFL curtain-raiser to the Kangaroos and Hawthorn clash.

Tens goals in the third quarter and another nine reinstated important percentage and saw the Roosters return to the mainland with a 24.22 (166) to 8.9 (57) scoreline.

North Ballarat remains fifth - three games inside the top eight with four rounds to go.

With a bye in the last round, it meets the struggling Box Hill Hawks in Ballarat on Saturday and then leading premiership contenders Geelong (home) and Sandringham (away).

North Ballarat is only percentage behind fourth-placed Williamstown, but faces an uphill battle getting into the top four for a double chance in the finals with the Seagulls to play Bendigo Bombers, Port Melbourne and Tasmania.

"There were some testy moments, but in the end we played to the standard of football we're capable of and need to play," Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald said.

Schultz to make worthy debut

From Ballarat Courier

WAYNE Schultz makes his senior debut with North Ballarat against Bendigo Bombers in the Victorian Football League at Stawell tomorrow.

His selection is a reward for persistence.

Schultz, who turns 25 on Tuesday, joined the Selkirk Roosters from Ballarat league club Sebastopol last year and has had to work hard to finally get the nod from coach Gerard FitzGerald.

It is appropriate that Schultz makes his debut in what is North Ballarat's first regional home game, with him being originally from nearby Horsham.

FitzGerald said Schultz was yet another endorsement for the Roosters' development system - giving players from throughout the western region an opportunity to play the best football outside the AFL.

Schultz's inclusion is to help cover the loss of the fleet-footed Steve Dinnell (knee) and Steve Clifton (hamstring).

The Roosters will not finalise their line-up until after a training session this morning, but as well as Schultz, the Kangaroos' Lindsay Thomas was last night the only other definite inclusion. Thomas replaces Matt Campbell,

who returns to the Kangaroos.

Gun full forward Aaron Edwards is also in the running to play for North Ballarat.

However, Edwards has been suffering from knee soreness and his availability will depend on how he pulls up after training with the Kangaroos today.

From Ballarat Courier

NORTH Ballarat coach Gerard FitzGerald is confident Tom Roach will be right to line up against Coburg Tigers in the Victorian Football League at AUSTAR Arena tomorrow.

While FitzGerald said he was unable to declare Roach over the line, he had been encouraged by what his hard-running midfielder had done on the training track.

"I'm more confident now than I was before training on Wednesday night," FitzGerald said yesterday.

Roach left the ground late in the first quarter against Casey Scorpions six days ago with a slight thigh strain and did not return.

Jacob Spolding is not so fortunate.

He remains sidelined with a corked thigh for a third match.

FitzGerald said Spolding was able to run, but his kicking was substantially restricted.

The inclusion of the Kangaroos' Kasey Green for the injured Tristan Cartledge (knee) is the only change to the team which defeated Casey by 14 points.

Cartledge is out four to five weeks with a strained medial ligament.

FitzGerald plans to increase the workload of key forward Callum Urch tomorrow.

FItzGerald eased Urch back after a long-term hamstring injury in the win over the Scorpions - using him off the bench.

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