Goulburn Valley is on a more even playing field tomorrow.
A return to under-18 interleague football last season was made extra difficult facing a bigger-bodied Essendon District side.
That competition plays at an under-19 level, meaning the step up was significant and the Goulburn Valley was well beaten by 60 points.
Goulburn Valley coach Jason Wells said it was a more like-for-like match-up with Ovens and Murray.
‘‘The under-19s was a big shock for the country kids, sometimes they take a bit longer to develop physically and the EDFL were probably 10cm taller and a lot heavier,’’ Wells said.
‘‘I’m really looking forward to seeing how the guys go this year against some of the best under-18 talent in country Victoria.
‘‘I reckon it’s more enjoyable playing another league that’s the same class as you and the rivalry in senior ranks certainly adds to it all.’’
Euroa’s Kayne Davidson has been named skipper after being around the representative system for about three years.
It is almost a completely different team from last year, with Mansfield’s James Chiller and Benalla’s Marcus O’Brien and Aaron Blackburn likely to be the only players to back up.
Reigning under-18 premier Shepparton United dominates the team, with six players selected who have all played senior football for the Demons.
Benalla has also done well, with five players included.
Wells said the buy-in had been sensational, with players realising how special it was to represent the Goulburn Valley, particularly against Ovens and Murray.
‘‘You have to give credit to all of these kids, especially the ones that put their hand up and said ‘I’m not quite right’,’’ Wells said.
‘‘You can’t take blokes in that didn’t play last week for their club. You might only get one chance to pull on the GV jumper, so it’s a hard decision and you just hope they continue to pursue their representative footy.’’
The under-18 team will head to Wodonga tonight in preparation for tomorrow’s game, which starts at 11am at Wodonga’s Martin Park.
GV Under-18 team
B: Harrison McPhee, Patrick Bromley, Aaron Blackburn
HB: Jared Service, Michael Ryan, Kayne Davidson (capt)
C: Marcus O’Brien, Jesse Cucinotta, Kyle Orchard
HF: Amos Farrell, Josh Kezerle, Jamie Dunne
F: Ed Adams, Liam Tenace, Jack Norman
R: Josh Flight, Adam Pigatto, Matt Ryan
Inter: Kai Madgwick, Tom Schumann, Jordan McGregor, James Chiller