Jason Cole is one of the best players in country Victoria, but he knows the value of team footy.
The Seymour star believes combining as a group will decide who will take home the Ash-Wilson trophy at Wodonga tomorrow, rather than individual moments of brilliance.
‘‘It’s a game everyone wants to perform in and I think you can really make a name for yourself on this stage,’’ Cole said.
‘‘You can go down as one of those players where you get 30 kicks and your opponent has 30, or play the team game.
‘‘Whoever plays the team game on the weekend will win for sure and that’s what it comes down to, that buy-in from the whole 22.’’
Cole becomes the Goulburn Valley’s fourth captain in five years, following on from former Shepparton United star Tim Looby, who has switched to Myrtleford this year, but won’t play for the Ovens and Murray.
Nathan Gilliland filled in when Looby was injured against Geelong in 2015, while Kyabram legend Paul Newman led by example for a number of years until his last appearance in 2013.
‘‘It’s a massive honour (to be captain) and I didn’t expect it, but Morgs (coach Luke Morgan) announced it at training last week, so I’m really looking forward to it,’’ Cole said.
Cole’s performance in big games is becoming legendary after he was named best-on-ground for Goulburn Valley against Essendon District last year and in Victoria Country’s win against VAFA.
The strong midfielder trains as he plays, attacking every contest like his life depends on it.
For a player of Cole’s stature in the league, it is hard to believe this will only be his second appearance donning the purple and yellow jumper.
Cole was left out of the final team in 2015 after attending training in the lead-up, as Geelong went on to defeat Goulburn Valley to retain the No.1 country ranking at Deakin Reserve.
‘‘I played in under-18s and this is only my second time, missing out a couple of years ago and then some injuries early on before that,’’ Cole said.
‘‘You’ve got to make the most of your opportunity when you get it, because they don’t come around easy, so everyone who’s made it should be really proud of it.’’
Goulburn Valley trained three times in the lead-up, up from the two sessions that had become standard in recent times.
The team will also travel to Wodonga tonight, staying together to increase the camaraderie in the group.
Cole believed this group had what it takes and would focus on what the team had to do, not knowing a lot about what the Ovens and Murray would bring to Martin Park.
‘‘A fair few of these blokes were in last year as well, so I know most them and I think there’s a good mix of youth and experience,’’ Cole said.
Cole will lead an exceptional Goulburn Valley midfield that includes Benalla ace Sam Martyn, Mansfield’s former WAFL star Brett Mahoney, while Morgan, Dean Smith, Nik Rokahr and Zac Pallpratt could spend time in the engine room.
Goulburn Valley v Ovens and Murray at Wodonga’s John Flower Oval.
Seniors (2pm) and under-18s (11am).
Radio coverage: One Fm 98.5 broadcast of the senior game, starting at 1.30pm.
●Mansfield’s Brett Mahoney is the only Goulburn Valley member to have previously played the Ovens and Murray. Mahoney was part of the Goulburn Valley’s team that won at Lavington in 2010. He had a successful career in Western Australia with Subiaco, before returning home to the Eagles this year.
●The teams have played 18 games since championship football began in 1978, with the leagues split at nine wins each.
●Former Shepparton United talent Brodie Filo will be in the enemy camp this year after representing Goulburn Valley in the league’s loss to Essendon District at Windy Hill last year.
●The leagues have played for the Ash-Wilson Trophy since 2001, named after former Shepparton and Albury legend Stephen Ash and Wangaratta Rovers champion Mick Wilson.