THERE’S a few extra nerves when you play in the same position as your three-time AFL premiership-winning coach – just ask Sam Cowling.
The Hampden league co-captain will slot in at centre half-forward on Saturday as Bottle Greens mentor Jonathan Brown directs play from the sidelines.
Warrnambool-aligned Cowling said it was exciting to learn from the retired Brisbane Lions spearhead, who will lead his former league against Bendigo at Reid Oval.
“The heat will be on – I better get a kick early,” he joked.
“It’s a pretty big task (to play at) centre half-forward for one of the all-time AFL legends, a three-time premiership player.
“It’s just a big honour to have that kind of talent down coaching us, just country football league.
“I am a bit of a sponge at the moment, (taking) any tips off Browny.
“Unfortunately there’s no cheat-sheet for centre-half forward. I am just looking forward to it.”
Cowling was announced as joint captain alongside Koroit premiership forward Tim McIntyre at training on Thursday night.
He held the same role three years ago before injury ruled him out of the past two AFL Victoria Championship campaigns.
Cowling said he was excited to play alongside McIntyre in a dynamic forward line.
“He’s so dangerous in a one-on-one contest, just beats his man day in, day out,” he said.
“I am glad to have him at my feet along with Jay Moody and even Luke Crane might get a guernsey as well.
“We’re really dangerous on the deck and with Jarrod Korewha and myself hopefully we’ll have a bit of aerial power as well.”
McIntyre said Cowling would give the Bottle Greens a strong target in attack.
“(My role) will be about high work rate and getting to the feet of big ‘Moo’ and getting a few crumbs off him,” he said.
McIntyre is one of nine Koroit players in the Bottle Greens’ final 23-player squad.
Defenders Brett Harrington, Dallas Mooney and Tim McPherson, midfielders Taylor Mulraney, Liam Hoy and Levi Nagorcka, ruckman Jeremy Hausler and forward Jarrod Korewha all made the final squad. Hausler is the only full-time ruckman in the team.
Hampden assistant coach Luke Crane, who wasn’t in the initial squad as he navigated his way back from a long-term knee injury, was included as a small forward.
Brown said he was rapt with the commitment of those who hit the training track on Thursday with selectors having to whittle down 37 players to 23.