North Ballarat have upset reigning premier Box Hill with a spirited come-from-behind win in the wet at Box Hill City Oval in round nine of the Peter Jackson VFL season. Trailing by twenty-three points at the final change, the Roosters rallied booting five goals to one in the last term to win a thrilling contest 8.13.61 to 8.11.59.
It was the Hawks second loss in succession while the win for North Ballarat - their fourth in-a-row - propels them into the top eight. North Melbourne listed midfielder Ben Jacobs was a stand-out for the Roosters amassing 39-disposals with 16 clearances and seven tackles to be best-on-the-ground.
Much of the first half was played in driving rain as fans took cover beneath umbrellas on the terraces. The Hawks took a five point lead into quarter-time after a scrappy opening but it was to be short lived. The Roosters kicked the first two goals of the second term thanks to defender Tony Lockyer and Jacobs to pinch the lead.
The momentum changed as the Hawks slipped into gear booting the next five goals of the game. They took a thirteen point lead into half-time and extended that after the re-start when Sam Grimley booted the only two goals of the third quarter.
At three-quarter-time the Hawks led 7.8.50 to North Ballarat 3.9.27 and appeared in control. The umbrellas had been packed away for the second half as the sun made a welcome appearance. It was hard to see where North Ballarat was going to get their goals from. Conditions didn't favour marking targets up forward but out of nowhere the Roosters found a way.
Nathan Horbury kick started their comeback with a goal on the run at the eight minute mark. Nick Peters, Lachie George and Jordan Staley converted to put the Roosters within three points and coach Gerard Fitzgerald's three-quarter-time request for his players to ' believe' was becoming reality.
North Ballarat worked harder to find space and was able to string a few goals together. When state squad member Nick Rippon was left unattended in-front of the main scoreboard and calmly slammed through another, the Roosters were in front!
North Ballarat defenders then did what they do best in the final five minutes, scrambling, scrapping and smothering any Box Hill attack to hold on for a possible season defining victory. Jacobs, Peters (31 disposals, 9 tackles), Trent Dumont (26, 11 clearances, 8 tackles) and Max Warren (13, 4 spoils) in defence were among their side's best. Better players for Box Hill included Will Langford who was a terrier around the packs, Sam Collins tried hard up against Eric Wallace (56-hitouts) in the ruck, Sam Iles and Jordan Kelly also worked tirelessly in the conditions.
Hawk's pair Grimley, 3, and Pat Lawlor, 2, were the only multiple goal-kickers on the ground. Box Hill face Williamstown at home in round ten while North Ballarat can continue their winning streak at home against a dis-appointing Casey Scorpions.