Published on May 16, 2017 7:26 am

Captains prepare for top-ranked match

On the eve of the 2017 Community Championships, the captains from the top-two ranked leagues in Victoria look ahead to their clash for the number-one title at the MCG on May 13.

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According to the old adage, it is always best to be the hunter, not the hunted.

But it seems that isn’t always the case according to Geelong Football Netball League (GFNL) captain Jason Davenport.

Ranked the number-one community football league in Victoria after defeating the Eastern Football League by 24-points in the inaugural Community Championships last season, the Geelong Football Netball League is determined to hold onto its title.

“We’re playing a competitive sport, so there is definitely that competitive nature amongst the group who all put their hand up to represent the competition they play in,” Davenport said.

“I think the guys take a lot of pride in taking responsibility to represent the league they come from in order to have those bragging rights as such to suggest they are a quality player in not only a quality competition but outside the VFL, the best competition in Victoria.”

Co-captaining the side with Bell Park’s Tim Sheringham, Davenport said the interest from the region’s best players has been overwhelming, with more than 40 players attending their first training session.

“Our lead up to the match has been going well,” Davenport said.

“We’ve started to come together over the last few weeks after developing our fitness levels over summer with our own local clubs… and the enthusiasm from the group has been great.”

Standing in their way of claiming the top-ranking are some of the best players from the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League (MPNFL).

Led by captain Rikki Johnston, the MPNFL is excited to take on the challenge.

“To be crowned the number-one ranked community league in Victoria would be a huge thrill,” he said.

“I think that it’s a really good representation of the strength of football we have down in the MPNFL, and it’s something that we would be very proud to achieve.”

For the first time, the top-ranked WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships match will be played at the MCG as a curtain raiser to the AFL’s Round 8 Country Game match between Essendon and Geelong.

“To be able to run out onto one of the game’s biggest stages is definitely a real thrill for the boys, and something which you don’t get the opportunity to do coming through local football,” Johnston said.

“Playing in the Championships is probably one of the highest levels of football a lot of these boys will play and it’s a great pleasure to get out onto the hallowed turf, where some amazing achievements have gone before us.

“We’re all looking forward to it and are certainly up for the challenge.”

The top-ranked 2017 WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships will kick off at 3:15pm at the MCG on Saturday May 13.

Follow #AFLVChamps for all the latest updates from the competition across the state.

WATCH Jason and Rikki’s full interviews below:
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