THE countdown to the much anticipated National AFL Under-18 Championships is well and truly on for Vic Country.
It opens the carnival against Vic Metro at Visy Park on Sunday.
North Ballarat Rebels will have three three players in the opener - Darcy Tucker (Horsham Saints), Dan Butler (Lake Wendouree) and Rowan Marshall (Portland).
Vic Country will also play Western Australia and South Australia in division one.
SMART CHASER SEES BALLARAT FOR FIRST TIME
GROUP 1-placed greyhound Zulu Zeus makes his first appearance in Ballarat on Wednesday night.
Zulu Zeus jumps from box two in the Cosmic Chief @ Stud Mixed 4/5, 450m, at Morshead Park,
From the leading kennel of Jason Thompson, Zulu Zeus has done the bulk of racing in NSW.
This will be only his fourth start in Victoria as the son of Where's Pedro looks to add to his eight career wins.
SOCCEROOS SELECTION POINTS TO ASIAN CUP
ON the national front, Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou names a 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup.
While the World Cup is the Socceroos' immediate target, the squad will also be a strong guide to the line-up Australia will take into the Asian Cup early next year.