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Bombers beaten in Rama's return

From Bendigo Advertiser

ADAM Ramanauskas yesterday made an emotional return to football after more than two years out of the game, but the Metricon Bendigo Bombers could not welcome him back with a win.

The Bombers were beaten 15.12 (102) to 14.11 (95) by reigning VFL premier Sandringham in the round three encounter at Windy Hill.

But it was the long-awaited return of Ramanauskas that will be the talking point out of the game.

It was Ramanauskas' first game since April 10, 2005, with the 26-year-old enduring a recurrence of cancer in his neck and a serious knee injury in the past two years.

A crowd of 2500 people gave Ramanauskas – now on Essendon's rookie list – a stirring ovation as he ran on to the ground.

He started on the bench, but was into the action 14 minutes into the first quarter.

Ramanauskas went on to collect 12 possessions and laid four tackles, and showed all his traits of calmness under pressure in an encouraging return by the 2000 Essendon premiership player.

"It was a huge story of everything he has gone through to come back and play," Bombers general manager Matthew Allan said.

"We will take a lot from it and we're pretty proud of the way Rama went about it.

"A lot of our guys in their first year were pretty lucky to play with Rama today, it's just disappointing we couldn't get a win for him."

After an even first quarter in which scores were level at 3.3 (21) apiece, the Zebras began to take control in the second term to open up an 18-point lead at half-time.

Cartledge stands tall for Roosters

From Ballarat Courier

TRISTAN Cartledge demonstrated why he was North Ballarat's number one recruiting priority this season by shaping a 29-point win over Tasmania in the Victorian Football League in Ballarat yesterday.

Cartledge stood tall as a ruckman and key forward as the Selkirk Roosters overpowered the fellow Kangaroos-aligned Devils.

Cartledge capped off his day's work with four goals and it could easily have been more but for some wayward shots from close range late.

His presence alone near goal was enough to unsettle Tasmania in the 18.12 (120) to 12.13 (91) victory, with the Devils unable to match his height and physical strength.

When he was not kicking goals, he was creating opportunities for the likes of first-year player Robert Gregg (three goals) and Stevie Dinnell (four) by drawing the attention of the Tasmania defence.

Dinnell was at his opportunist best, while the strongly built Gregg provided an example of how dangerous he is inside the 50-metre forward arc.

Cartledge began the day in the ruck, with the former Essendon big man helping provide the early impetus with Eddie Sansbury, Djaran Whyman, the explosive Jacob Spolding and Michael Searl before Tasmania hauled the Roosters back in.

Devils cave in again

From The Mercury
Reported by Paul Malarski

THE Tasmanian Devils again fell victim to the dreaded fourth-quarter fadeout as they slumped to an 18.12 (120) to 13.13 (91) loss to North Ballarat in the VFL at Ballarat yesterday.

Leading by a point at three-quarter time the Devils could only manage two goals in the final quarter, while North Ballarat rattled on seven.

It came a week after the Devils were buried by an 11-goal final quarter Geelong avalanche at Bellerive.

And it was the first time North Ballarat had scored more than 100 points in their 12 meetings with Tasmania.

Devils coach Daryn Cresswell was at a loss for a reason for his side's inability to snatch victory when it was there for the taking.

"It's the third time it's happened this season," Cresswell said.

"It's a real concern and something we have to look at.

"I'm not sure if it is a fitness or a mental thing. We just didn't give a yell when we needed to," he said.

Cresswell admitted his defence was another problem area.

Second quarter lapse costs Dolphins

From Frankston Independent
Reported by Michael Robinson

It was an overcast day at Geelong as the Dolphins were looking for their first win at Skilled Stadium. Rain started to fall about an hour before the game and continued throughout(not good for the game, but good for the farmers).

It was a arm wrestle in the first quarter as both defences got on top and both teams struggled to get the ball close to goal. Finally 15 minutes into the 1st quarter Dale Whelan kicked the first goal of the game this was followed up by a goal by Marcus Marigliani to give the Dolphins a 9 point quarter time lead.

Leigh Tudor must have given the Geelong players a rev up quarter time as the Cats came out firing kicking 6 goals in the first 10 minutes to break the game open. The Dolphins didn't have the answer against the Geelong midfield of Nathan Djerrkura, Tim Callan and Kane Tenace. By half time an 8 goal to 1 quarter gave the Cats a 33 point lead.

As the 3rd quarter got underway it went pretty similar to first quarter the ball was kicked from end to end with only 1 goal to each team with Cats looking like that had a match winning lead of 32 points at the final change.

Roosters forge new rivalry

From Ballarat Courier

EXPECT SOME fireworks from North Ballarat and Tasmania - the Victorian Football League's newest genuine rivalry - in the Roosters' first home appearance of the season tomorrow.
While the traditional Ballarat-Bendigo sporting rivalry has occupied the top billing for the Selkirk Roosters for close to a decade, there has been a slight shift over the past few seasons.

As far as the public is concerned, there is still enormous emotion in a North Ballarat and Bendigo Bombers clash.

All you have to do is sit in the grandstand among Bomber supporters at the Queen Elizabeth Oval to experience that.

Out on the ground though, the feeling in a North Ballarat and Tasmania clash is becoming more intense each time they meet.

It is only natural, with each aligned to the Kangaroos in the AFL.

There is nothing like throwing "teammates" into battle against each other to bring out the true competitivenes in a player.

Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald agreed that the North Ballarat and Bendigo rivalry was certainly not at the same level as it had been before the teams were aligned with AFL clubs.

Although he certainly believes there remains a strong regional city rivalry.

As far as Tasmania goes, FitzGerald said Tasmanian coach Darren Cresswell saw the Roosters as a natural rival because of the Kangaroos links.

And FitzGerald said there was certainly a lot feeling among players at Arden Street.


From Geelong Advertiser
Report by Michael Auciello

THE rich vein of father-sons will continue at Geelong today when Tom Couch makes his debut for the Cats' VFL team.

The 18-year-old midfielder will follow in the footsteps of his famous father Paul when he dons the blue and white hoops for the first time at Skilled Stadium.

After hanging around the Cattery in his dad's day as Geelong's self-confessed No.1 fan, Couch says wearing the jumper for real will be a ``dream come true''.

``I'd like to wear the AFL one, of course, but VFL, you've got to start somewhere. So hopefully I'll play in the AFL one day, but I'm just happy here trying to get a kick,'' he said.

He means the VFL no disrespect, but his hunger to make it to the top grade is obvious.

When he missed being picked up by the Cats in the rookie draft at the end of last season, Couch was devastated. ``It was hard. The six weeks after that were the hardest of my life,'' he said.

``I wanted to give up. The first week after I thought about giving it away, but if you love it so much, you've got to stick by it and you just never know.

``You've got to stay focused, get motivated and think `there's always next year'.

Changes as Devils look for answers

Reported by Phil Edwards
From Launceston Examiner

COACH Daryn Cresswell has wielded the selection axe following the Devils' big defeat against Geelong last week as he looks for his side to rebound against North Ballarat at Austar Arena on Sunday.

Cresswell made several changes, omitting Hobart's James Charlesworth, Wynyard's Tim McMichael, Kangaroos rookie Ben Ross and Ulverstone's Sam Whish- Wilson from last week's losing side.

He recalled Darren Crawford, Nathan Street, Jason Howard, Tim Mohr, Brody Johnson, Luke Shackleton and Matthew Smith, naming an extended interchange bench of eight players that will be culled to four after the team's final training run tonight.

"It was a disappointing effort last week and it wasn't acceptable because we didn't play the style of footy that we had played the whole pre- season," he said.

"But to be only 10 points down against a side which played in last year's grand final with a number of senior experienced players was quite surprising.

"It goes to show we have got a pretty talented side and if we play the style of footy we know we can we can pretty much beat anyone," he said.

Cresswell said his young side, with an average age of 20.8 last week, had to learn from its mistakes and taking the players through a video replay of last week's game had been part of the process during the week.

"We didn't play smart footy kicking to contests and we played safe not linking up and running the footy through the corridor and taking risks," he said.