TOP-AGE Bottle Greens Jordan Brown and Gus Bourke will lead Hampden’s under 18 interleague campaign against Ovens and Murray this Sunday.
The capable teenagers were announced as captain and vice-captain after squad training at Reid Oval in Warrnambool last night.
Coach Jeremy Mitchem chose the duo after solid performances as bottom-age players at interleague level last year, backed up by dedication to the cause this season.
Captain Jordan, of South Warrnambool, and vice-captain Gus, of Terang Mortlake, were pleasantly surprised by their appointments.
“Jeremy just came up to us and said congratulations Jordan and Gus,” Jordan told The Standard last night.
“I’m stoked. Just to make the team is a great honour, let alone be captain and vice-captain.”
Both of the rising stars are no strangers to leadership roles.
Jordan is the current captain of South’s under 18 side, while Gus was captain of the Bloods at under 14 level.
“We just have to lead out the team and set the example for the younger blokes on and off the field,” Gus said. Hampden’s underage outfit has had two training sessions at Cobden and one at Warrnambool in preparation for the big game at Princes Park in Melbourne, which doubles as a curtain-raiser for the senior contest between the same leagues.
Jordan, 18, and Gus, 17, are both wingmen.
The pair said the junior Bottle Greens were predominantly midfielders and were relying on “speed and agility”.
“We’ve got a lot of midfielders,” Jordan said.
“The ball will have to come down pretty quick to our forwards if we want to score goals. Hopefully we can represent the league in a quality manner.”
Gus echoed Jordan’s summation of the team.
“We’re not very tall, so we have to use our speed around the ground,” he said.
“Hopefully we win by a fair bit and hopefully it will be a good day down there.”
The current under 18 squad has 34 players, to be narrowed down to 24 tomorrow night at Reid Oval.
Jordan said he was grateful to know his name was already on the list and promised to relish the opportunity this weekend.
“It’s good to play alongside blokes that you would usually be playing against,” he said.
“It’s good to get to know your opposition and to meet new blokes.”
Hampden’s senior group also trained last night in Warrnambool.
The squad of 35 will be reduced to 22 tomorrow evening, when captains will be announced.
Maskell Medal winner and North Ballarat contracted player Levi Dare, who got the green light to play for the Bottle Greens on Monday, was not at the Reid Oval training session. Neither were Sam Cowling and Jason Rowan.
Meanwhile, Warrnambool and District Football Umpires Association will also have interleague representation this weekend.
Jamie Lake and Casey O’Keefe will officiate the centre, while Kieran Ferguson will control the boundary at Princes Park on Sunday.
Central umpire Travis Monk will take charge of the game between Bellarine Football League and Western Border Football League at Kardinia Park on Saturday.
Nick Ross Watson will also hold the whistle in the centre of the under 18 match between Bellarine and Ballarat football leagues on Saturday.