PAUL Hinkley is preparing to write another chapter in his representative football career — six weeks after producing the feel-good story of an otherwise disappointing Hampden interleague campaign.
The Cobden utility, who kept former AFL star Brendan Fevola to one goal in Hampden league’s humbling 125-point loss to Ovens and Murray, will play for AFL Victoria Country’s number one squad against a strong metropolitan side at Werribee’s Chirnside Park tomorrow.
Hinkley’s selection stemmed from his gallant defensive efforts on Fevola at Wangaratta in May.
He was named in Vic Country 1’s final 24-strong line-up — teams will have six interchange players — on Wednesday night.
The chance to wear the Big V is an opportunity the Bombers tall can’t wait to grasp.
“It is a real honour. I didn’t expect to get selected to train, let alone make the final 24,” Hinkley said.
“It’s huge. I never thought I’d get a chance.
“Just getting your jumper presented to you was a big buzz.” Hinkley, who travelled to Melbourne for three Sunday training sessions in a bid to make the team, will meet his Vic Country 1 teammates in Geelong at 3pm today for tomorrow’s game, which was moved to Werribee after recent heavy rain at Kardinia Park.
The Cobden dairy farmer is unsure what position he’ll play in the one-off representative match but said he was ready to “test myself against the best” in the state.
Hinkley said he was just looking forward to the opportunity to “hang around with all these good footballers and learn a few things”.
The 196-centimetre Bomber, just as comfortable in the ruck as he is at centre half-back, believes Vic Country 1 has assembled a versatile side which could stretch its metropolitan-based opponents.
“We have blokes who can play either end and through the middle,” he said.
“There are a lot of good sized footballers there and our small guys are handy.
“The Metro team we are playing have two blokes 201cm and 100kg so they’re big lads.”
Hinkley, 26, will miss Cobden’s must-win clash with neighbour Camperdown at Leura Oval.
He said the Bombers had endured an up and down season to date.
“We all started off really well obviously with a new coach with new ideas,” Hinkley said.
“We were all up and about but I think everyone’s consistency dropped a bit.”
Vic Country 1 coach Peter Knights said Hinkley — Hampden’s only representative — had all the attributes to contribute at the next level.
“Over the last five weeks through training and match-day performances for his home club, his form has been terrific and his commitment excellent in regards to getting to trainings on Sunday mornings,” Knights said.
“We see Paul as a versatile player who can play as a ruck or defender.
“There is no doubt he is a very athletic, versatile player.”
Knights, who will turn to Koroit’s Joe McLaren as an assistant coach, said Vic Country 1 was content to play anywhere.
“Unfortunately one thing we can’t control is the weather,” he said.
“Unfortunately we won’t be at Simonds Stadium. It would have been an opportunity to play on an AFL ground which is disappointing (to miss out on).”
The clash will start at 2.15pm.