JAMIESON Ballantyne set himself a goal at the start of the season - make Vic Country's under 19 football team.
The Portland midfielder is one step closer after being one of 11 Greater Western Victoria Rebels named in the initial squad.
They will play in a trial match against Vic Metro at Werribee on Sunday.
"It is pretty exciting and I am pretty stoked about it but it's obviously only the first step; there's a lot of work to be done yet," Ballantyne told The Standard.
"There were a few little goals I wanted to tick off and this was an overall goal, to play nationals at the end of the year for Vic Country.
"Getting into the first stage is pretty exciting."
Ballantyne joins fellow Hampden league prospects Marcus Herbert (South Warrnambool), Hamish Sinnott (Camperdown) and Angus Bade (Warrnambool) and Mininera and District export Josh Rentsch (Penshurst) in the initial squad. Other Rebels in the frame are Ben Hobbs, Charlie Molan, Sam Butler, Sam Breuer, Kai Lohmann and Josh Gibcus.
"The whole Rebels' group is having a good year winning-wise so it should be a good experience," Ballantyne said.
"It will be even better to share it with the other boys. It shows we have a pretty good spread in our team at the Rebels."
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Ballantyne, 18, is averaging 18 disposals a game for the Rebels.
"I am happy with how I am going at the moment but there's still plenty to work on, individually and as a team," he said.
"I am still focusing on my running and endurance and trying to use the ball a bit better by foot, looking to hit the short option as well as the long option inside 50.
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Vic Country will play two practice matches against Vic Metro on Sunday - one at 11.30am and one a 2pm.
The Rebels' players will feature in game one.
Vic Country will play its first game of the AFL under 19 national championships against the Allies on August 14.
The remainder of its matches will be in late September.
Meanwhile, eight south-west footballers will play in two under 16 representative games for GWV Rebels in July.
Henry Bensch (Penshurst), Connor Byrne (Koroit), Darcy Campbell (Portland), Lachlan Herschell and Luke Smith (Cobden), Harry Keast (North Warrnambool), Luamon Lual and Mitch Wollermann (South Warrnambool) and Deacon White (Hamilton) were picked to play against Geelong Falcons and Bendigo Pioneers in matches designed to give that age group a test at a higher level.
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