Published on May 17, 2018 12:33 pm

Country footy raring to go on big stage

With the WorkSafe Community Championships just around the corner, representatives from both Ballarat Football Netball League (BFNL) and Goulburn Valley League (GVL) are raring to go ahead of their debut on the MCG on May 19. Anna Pavlou reports.

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It’s an exciting prospect of playing on the biggest sporting ground in Australia and according to Ballarat ruckman Ben Archard, his side is ready to live out their childhood dreams.

“We’re upbeat about playing at the ‘G. It’s a good initiative by AFL Victoria to have the opportunity to do that,” he said.

“We’ve got our best side assembled and everyone’s pumped.”

Archard, who has been training hard with his teammates over the past few weeks, understands the challenge that lies ahead.

“We haven’t play Goulburn Valley before, so it’s going to be a big test for us, but we’re quietly confident,” he said.

Ballarat have now picked their final 22 who will run out in Saturday’s clash, with a versatile team preparing to take to the field.

“We’ve got a few young boys, and a lot of experience who have played interleague before, so it’s a good mix.”

Goulburn captain Jason Cole also recognises the importance of the occasion to celebrate country footballers on the big stage.

“I love interleague. It’s a great opportunity to play the best footy we can as country footballers,” he said.

“And it’s at the home of footy, so it’s a dream come true.”

Having not played Ballarat FNL previously, Cole said his team’s ability to run into space on a bigger oval would hold them in good stead against the boys from Ballarat.

“Our style of footy is different to theirs. Our grounds are bigger out in Goulburn Valley, so we play an open style of footy. Hopefully on the big ground we can get them with some run,” he said.

“We’re super rapt to be playing at the MCG and would love for everyone to get down.”

This is only the second time that the top-ranked WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships country match will be played at the MCG as a curtain raiser to the AFL’s Country Game between Essendon and Geelong.

Ballarat FNL and Goulburn Valley L will face off in the 7 v 8 game at 12:45pm at the MCG on Saturday May 19.

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