A cut above

FOUR stars of the Gippsland League made the penultimate cut for the Victoria Country number one side to face the Victorian Amateur Football Association at Bendigo’s Queen Elizabeth Oval this weekend.

Traralgon playing coach Mark Collison, Sale on-baller Kane Martin and Drouin duo Bob McCallum and Dan Nicholls survived the cull from 39 to 26, ahead of the final 22 selection last night.

The AFL Victoria Country side is chosen from the top 10 leagues on the Country Football ladder, and coached by Longwarry legend Peter Knight.

Since 1993 the side has done battle with the VAFA in a biennial clash that has a history of going to down to the wire; the past four games between the two representative teams have been decided by less than six points. The VAFA won the last encounter in 2013 by three points, a loss that levelled the head-to-head ledger at seven wins apiece.

Knight commended the players from Gippsland and beyond for their commitment to the squad.

“We’ve got guys coming from as far away as Albury, Sale and Warrnambool, and the commitment they have shown has been outstanding,” he said.

“To be there for training on Sunday morning in Melbourne, return again for the final training on Wednesday night and then be in Bendigo on Friday afternoon just speaks for how much this opportunity means to them.”

The match will take place at QEO from 4.05pm on Saturday. Under 19 and Victoria Country number 2 matches against VAFA will precede the main game.