HAMPDEN league captain Sam Cowling has labelled AFL Victoria's possible scrapping of interleague football as "disappointing".
The Warrnambool leader represented club and league on six occasions and three of those times as captain, including the 2019 victory over Ballarat in May.
Cowling said interleague was the only chance he and other players could get to showcase their skills at a higher level.
"Being 28 years old I probably don't see many other opportunities for me to play VFL or anything like that," he told The Standard.
"We don't get many chances to play at a higher level and now that we have worked our way to be one of the top 10 leagues in the state now the best standard we have has been taken away. It's very disappointing."
The Blues forward said many of the Hampden league's players would share his feelings if representative football is to be scrapped.
"Especially now with direction we have had in the last few years the attitude has changed and the calibre of players putting their hands up every year year has risen so the feeling would be shared," he said.
"Look at Jye Turland and how he played after interleague. This was a break out season for him and he obviously took confidence from his good game at that level and then took it through the rest of the season.
"If it was next year he would have lost that opportunity."
Cowling said interleague had helped a number of south-west stars find their way to higher levels and with the scrapping the pathways would close up.
"It's all about exposure and for guys not in the NAB League they got that exposure in interleague," he said.
"Look at (Brisbane Lions') Cedric Cox and (delisted Geelong player) Jamaine Jones who got picked up from these sorts of games.
"It's just another game to expose us and now recruiters will have to make drive down the highway from Melbourne to watch a Hampden league game making it much harder."
If not for interleague, players like Port Fairy's Kaine Mercovich, North Warrnambool Eagles' Sam James, Portland's Harris Jennings, South Warrnambool's Shannon Beks and Paddy Anderson would not have played for Vic Country.
The Hampden league was locked in to battle powerhouse Ovens and Murray in 2020 edition of the AFL Victoria Community Championships.
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