WIMMERA duo Jarrod Berry and Sam White will represent Vic Country at the NAB AFL Under-16 Championships at the Gold Coast next month.
After a lengthy selection process, the pair made the final cut of 25 players, which was announced after a trial game on Sunday last week.
Horsham Saints midfielder Berry and Hopetoun key forward White will put their skills to the test against the best footballers in their age bracket in the country.
Both are part of the North Ballarat Rebels’ under-16 development squad, which has seven players selected.
Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said it was a fantastic achievement.
“We’re extremely proud to have seven boys in the Vic Country team, which is the most of any TAC Cup country club,” he said.
“It’s a credit to their clubs and we’re looking forward to those boys getting exposed to higher-level footy in a month’s time.”
Berry and White played three games for the Rebels’ under-16 squad earlier this year before being selected in an initial Vic Country 50-player squad.
Both said they were thrilled to have the opportunity to test themelves against the best players.
“I’m pretty happy,” White said.
“It’s been a really good experience – you learn a lot from all the coaches.
“I want to get the most out of it, learn a lot and have a bit of fun.”
White, who is studying at Ballarat’s St Patrick’s College, has played school football, junior football for Ballarat club Mt Clear and one senior game for home club Hopetoun this season.
His father Tom said it was a remarkable turnaround from almost two years ago.
“He had a broken leg probably about 18 or 19 months ago and he’s just getting back to playing footy, which is probably the biggest achievement,” he said.
“He was out of action for six months so he’s happy to be back playing footy.”
Berry is no stranger to representing his state, having played for Victoria at under-15 level and Vic Country at under-12 level.
He said he hoped to have team success at the tournament.
“I’m hoping we play well, get a win and that we are up there with the top three or four states,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to the experience – the professionalism of it and playing against the best opposition.”
The Vic Country team starts its campaign against South Australia on July 4.