HAMPDEN League captain Sam Cowling is eager to repay the trust that coach Jonathan Brown has put in him as leader by helping continue the Bottle Greens' winning ways.
The 27-year-old Warrnambool-aligned forward was named as the side's captain for a second consecutive year, with Koroit premiership pair Brett Harrington and Dallas Mooney as his deputies.
In Brown's tenure as Bottle Greens' mentor, the side has collected wins against South East and Bendigo football leagues and has a chance to make it three in a row when it face Ballarat, who will have former Terang Mortlake player Scott Carlin, at Mars Stadium this Saturday.
Cowling, who has kicked 13 goals for his club this season, said the key for Hampden securing a third AFL Victoria Community Championships victory was working as one.
"The first team in representative footy that gels together usually goes a long way to winning," he said. "We had a good trip down to the footy in Melbourne and we have got to know all the guys so that's a massive key."
The Blues' centre half-forward said he knew he would be strongly supported by fellow leaders in Harrington and Mooney, who both start in the back line on Saturday.
"They are fierce leaders for their respective clubs, obviously at Koroit," he said.
"They've been successful over there the last five-10 years and it's really great to have that backing.
"The boys know their game and have different strengths to me so it will be good to have those leaders right throughout the ground."
Harrington, who skippered Koroit to a premiership last season, said working on his leadership skills had helped him feel more comfortable in taking on the dual vice-captaincy.
"I have worked on it the last few years and leadership is obviously a big part of captaining Koroit, taking on the role last year and continuing it this year," the 29-year-old utility said. "It's just something that I have taken in my stride."
Mooney, who was selected in his fourth interleague side, said he didn't think he would ever be a leader in a Hampden representative side.
"I do have a leadership role back in Koroit but no vice-captain or captain role there so this is definitely a shock," the 29-year-old said.
Mooney said the side was eager to take it up to one of the best teams in the state as the Bottle Greens aimed to jump up to be one of the top-five leagues in Victoria.
"We just want to take it up to them," the five-time premiership Saint said. "That's the aim. We don't go there to lose we want to come away with the win."
Koroit has nine representatives in Brown's final team, while Port Fairy, Camperdown, North Warrnambool Eagles and Warrnambool all have multiple players selected.
Harrington and Mooney are joined by fellow Saints Ben Dobson, Alex Pulling, James Gow, Tom Couch, Jeremy Hausler, Liam Hoy and Jarrod Korewha.
Cowling has Blues teammates Jackson Bell and Jye Turland by his side, while Port Fairy has coach Dan Nicholson and midfield pair Tom Sullivan and Kaine Merkovich, who retains his spot in the side.
The Magpies will be represented by Fraser Lucas and Riley Arnold, while the Eagles have Darcy Keast, Sam McLachlan and Adam Wines in the side.
Terang Mortlake's Ryan O'Connor, South Warrnambool's Shannon Beks, who was best on ground last year, and Portland's Harris Jennings round out the side.
Cobden's Jesse Williamson and Warrnambool's Wil Jacobs are emergencies.
B: Brett Harrington, Ryan O'Connor, Fraser Lucas
HB: Dallas Mooney, Darcy Keast, Ben Dobson
C: Alex Pulling, James Gow, Riley Arnold
HF: Tom Sullivan, Sam Cowling, Jarrod Korewha
F: Dan Nicholson, Shannon Beks, Tom Couch
Foll: Jeremy Hausler, Kaine Merkovich, Jackson Bell
Int. Adam Wines, Sam McLachlan, Liam Hoy, Jye Turland, Harris Jennings
EMG Jesse Williamson, Wil Jacobs
B: Lachlan Watkins, Ryan Carter Ben Simpson
HB: Ryley Stulhdreier, Liam Carter, Grant Valles
C: Lachlan Bramble, Lachlan George, Nicholas Stuhldreier
HF: Jordan Johnston, Jake Owen, Jacob Brown
F: Braeden Kight, Aaron Willitts, Jack Landt
FOLL: Jayden Eales, Mitch Conn, Mickitja Rotumah-Onus
INTER: Arthur Armstrong, Scott Carlin, Shaun Campbell, Daniel Jones
Emerg: Lachlan McLean, Marcus Powling, Billy Crofts
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