AN opportunity to play on Australian sport’s biggest stage awaits a dozen young Central Highlands cricketers tomorrow.
But it’s not just a chance to run out onto the MCG – there’s also a state championship at stake.
The Highlanders will take on South East Bayside Breakers in the final of the boys under-18 titles following a flawless lead-up campaign.
Five straight wins during the mid-January carnival allowed the Central Highlands to book its place in the decider, where it will look to become the region’s first male pathway team to win since the complete merger of the country and metro areas in 2000-2001.
The Highlanders under-18 boys were runners-up two years ago.
Team coach Paull Jeffrey is quite confident heading into the clash.
“We were undefeated during the carnival so there’s no reason why we can’t win it,” Jeffrey said.
“We made a couple of semis and were at the MCG two years ago. During the past six or seven years I’ve been coaching we’ve come close a couple of times and I think this year we’ve got the team to certainly take it out.”
“It would be fantastic for the region as well. It’s not just the boys, but the whole Central Highlands region.”
Jeffrey said the team’s best asset was a strong batting top order, but believed there was plenty of depth in all aspects of the game.
“We have got a really well balanced side – good top order batters, a couple of good spinners and some good mediums. We’ve got a well-rounded side and don’t really rely on any one person,” he said.
The under-18 boys state final begins at noon following the under-18 girls clash between Gippsland and South East Metro.
Entry is free, with spectators to enter via gate 2 (Members Entrance).