MARS Stadium will be the venue for this year’s AFL Victoria Community Championship match between the Ballarat Football Netball League and the Hampden Football Netball League.
At one stage being ranked as high as fourth, the BFNL have slipped all the way down to the ninth ranked team in country Victoria and are desperate for a resurgence back up the totem pole when they host the eight placed Hampden league this Saturday.
Melton’s Ben Archard and Sebastopol’s Matt Austin, Tony Lockyer and Toby Toohlen are the only real big names missing from the squad due to injury, but ultimately the BFNL have a full plethora of talent to pick from.
A new initiative from coach, Chris Sthuldrier, saw players from all clubs represented in the initial 56-man squad, truly meaning that the BFNL will be represented with the best of the best.
It’s still a squad filled with ex-AFL and VFL talent left right and centre, with Sthuldrier having his work cut out in just determining who will be the final 22 to take the field at MARS Stadium.
Hampden’s senior interleague footballers will be coached by Fox Footy’s and Brisbane Lions three-time premiership star Jonathan Brown, for the third year.
Brown, who played his junior football in South Warrnambool in the Hampden Football League, laced up for 256 games in the AFL and booted 594 goals and is more notably known as one of the most courageous players to ever play the game.
He will be supported by four assistant coaches with former Portland and Hamilton leader Jarrod Holt joining the coaching staff alongside Aaron Sinnott from Camperdown, Adam Dowie from North Warrnambool and Leigh McCluskey from Brown’s old side South Warrnambool.
Like their BFNL counterparts, Hampden’s squad is full of plenty of high-quality talent with ex-AFL footballer Billie Smedts one of the big-name players their along with Tom Couch the son of the late Brownlow Medallist, Paul Couch, named as well to play this Saturday afternoon.
Tough to see who will win this one, but the BFNL has it all to play for as a loss would mean dropping outside the top ten rankings, whereas a win can be the building blocks in once again establishing Ballarat as the premier destination for football outside the metropolitan region.
Senior Ballarat FNL vs Hampden FNL
B: Lachlan Watkins (Melton South), Ryan Carter (Melton), Ben Simpson (North Ballarat).
HB: Ryley Stulhdreier (Bacchus Marsh), Liam Carter (Melton), Grant Valles (Sunbury)
C: Lachlan Bramble (Sunbury), Lachlan George (Redan), Nicholas Stuhldreier (Bacchus Marsh)
HF: Jordan Johnston (East Point), Jake Owen (Bacchus Marsh), Jacob Brown (East Point)
F: Braeden Kight (Melton), Aaron Willitts (Bacchus Marsh), Jack Landt (Sunbury).
FOLL: Jayden Eales (Sunbury), Mitch Conn (Sunbury), Mickitja Rotumah-Onus (East Point)
I: Arthur Armstrong (Lake Wendouree), Scott Carlin (Lake Wendouree), Shaun Campbell (Melton), Daniel Jones (North Ballarat).