Horsham's Brody Pope has had his hard work recognised with selection in the state football team set to compete at the School Sport Australia National Championships.
The talented youngster will represent the School Sport Victoria Team Vic 15 years-and-under team at the championships to be held in Tasmania in July.
Pope said he was looking forward to the unexpected opportunity.
"It was a little bit surprising, but overall, it was pretty good."
The selection comes after a tough trail process.
"There was a fair bit of training that went into it. It started off in Ballarat, and we kind of had to move around from there," Pope said.
"We had a few practice matches, and we rotated through the team, so we had a bit of time playing everywhere."
It is the first time Pope will represent his state in football and the rising star said he was proud of the work he'd done to earn his place.
"I tried out a couple of times when I was younger but was never quite tall enough and stuff like that," he said.
"I've worked really hard at this and trained a fair bit, so I think that's made a difference."
School Sports Victoria project officer Pieter van Pinxteren said it was a great opportunity for young footballers to develop.
"From a higher level perspective this is a bit of an honour that Brody has been selected," he said.
"There's a bit of a structured process that's he gone through, and there are nearly 200 to 250 kids that are a part of it.
"Many from this squad have gone on to play very high levels of football. There have been many AFL captains that have come through this pathway, and it's a great opportunity.
"It's a chance for him to develop his skills furthermore and test himself against some of the best kids in the country. I guess this competition is a breeding ground for kids who make it to the top."
Pope will continue to play for his Horsham Demons junior side while he prepares for the national championships.
"I'm pretty proud of myself, and it's got me really excited and pumped for footy," he said.
"It should be a really fun tournament to play in with all the team. I'm looking forward to it."
The week-long School Sport Australia Australian Football National Championships will be held in Launceston at the end of July.
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