Sport

Vic Country to ride Cole train

By Lauren Bordin

Jason Cole’s standing in country football has risen to another level.

After stunning the Goulburn Valley League and beyond with 61 disposals and six goals against Benalla on Saturday, the Seymour co-coach has been chosen to captain Victoria Country.

He will lead the side on Sunday against Victoria Metro in Ballarat and Kyabram superstar Kayne Pettifer will be one of his deputies.

The GVL’s runaway leading goal-kicker will be vice-captain alongside Swan Hill’s Xavier Moloney and Drouin’s Bob McCallum.

Cole initially found out about his appointment via congratulatory messages from friends who had seen the AFL Victoria announcement online.

But in the true easygoing style of Cole, he said he was rapt to find out he was playing.

‘‘I was in shock to be honest, it’s a huge honour and it was great to know I’m getting a game at least, it’s a big honour to play in these rep sides,’’ Cole said.

‘‘It’s a great experience, it’s the best of the best from the country playing the best of metro and that’s the great thing about rep footy, it’s the highest level we can play and that’s something that I love.’’

Cole made a brilliant impression in his first Victoria Country match, crowned best-on-field in 2016 under coach and Hawthorn legend Peter Knights.

He missed last season while recovering from a partially torn hamstring, but will take the reins on the field with Danny Frawley in the coach’s box.

Cole captained the GVL to a stirring win against Ballarat Football League at the MCG in May and is excited to lead the side with his deputies.

‘‘I played with Bob McCallum a couple of years ago in 2016 and to have Petts and Xave Moloney as vice-captains is really good,’’ Cole said.

‘‘I’m really looking forward to the weekend and it’ll probably be cold and could be a bit wet, but it’ll still be good to get out on the field.’’

Kyabram wingman Mick Mattingly and Rochester goal sneak Steven Stroobants are among the squad of 29 that will attend training in Craigieburn tonight before the final team is selected.

The under-19 Vic Country side will have four Goulburn Valley representatives — Shepparton’s Liam Duguid, Echuca’s Darby Henderson and Angus Byrne as well as Kyabram’s Brad Whitford.

Nick Stuhldreier — son of GVL Hall of Fame inductee Chris — has also been included in the team with the former Western Jets talent playing for Bacchus Marsh.