Suban to captain country

READY FOR BATTLE: North Ballarat Rebels in the Vic Country team, from left,  Andrew Hooper, Ryan McKenzie, Will Young, Jordan Roughead and captain Nick Suban.
READY FOR BATTLE: North Ballarat Rebels in the Vic Country team, from left, Andrew Hooper, Ryan McKenzie, Will Young, Jordan Roughead and captain Nick Suban.

DYNAMIC midfielder Nick Suban will captain Vic Country into battle against arch-rival Vic Metro on the hallowed turf of the MCG on Sunday.Suban is one of five North Ballarat Rebels called up for state duty in the AFL under-18 championships at the weekend.Ruckman Jordan Roughead, towering forward Will Young, attacking forward Ryan McKenzie and nuggety defender Andrew Hooper will also pull on the Big V.The match will be played as a curtain raiser to the AFL Melbourne-Hawthorn clash. Suban, who was named All-Australian at the championships last year, was humbled with captaincy honours."It's a good honour and big responsibility but once you get out on the field you do everything for the team. Everyone's a leader on the field,'' Suban said."It's good being with the best 30 players in regional Victoria and see what they do."You learn a lot and bringing your knowledge back to the club helps.''An initial Vic Country squad, including promising players from Ballarat, Geelong, Gippsland, Bendigo and Murray TAC Cup teams started training in December.It has been refined since the start of the season.The Rebels' impressive start to the season has captured the eye of selectors.Young was added to the squad last month while Hooper, already in the squad, was called into the round-one line-up after a best-on-ground performance against Eastern Ranges on Saturday.Fellow Rebels Jason Linke and Ben Peters are also in the squad and will be keen to impress state selectors before the round two clash in early June.Forward Tim Ruffles and defender Tom Frawley have each returned from state duties with NSW and Northern Territory in the AFL under-18 division two championships.Young, a first-time Vic Country representative, was nervous knowing AFL scouts would be scrutinising this weekend's match but said once he stepped on the field it was all about the team. Plus, a rare chance to play at football's mecca."Definitely exciting, especially because it could be our only opportunity to actually play footy on the MCG,'' Young said.TAC Cup's longest serving coach Robert Hyde (Calder Cannons) will be at the helm, with former Western Bulldogs and Daylesford legend Chris Grant as his assistant coach.Vic Metro and Western Australia have been touted as the teams to beat for the division one flag.VIC COUNTRY TEAM FOR ROUND ONE OF AFL UNDER-18 CHAMPIONSHIPSBendigo Pioneers: Josh Gaylor, Shane Page (emergency), Julian Lockwood (emergency).Geelong Falcons: Allen Christensen, Luke Rounds, Tom Simpkin, Jordan Jones, Luke Thompson.Gippsland Power: Edward Carr, Nic Heyne, John Butcher.Murray Bushrangers: Will Martiniello, Jamie Sheahan, Jamason Daniels, Dash Barolli, Steele Sidebottom, Tom Rockliff, Riley Milne, Andrew Browne.North Ballarat Rebels: Ryan McKenzie (Warrack Eagles), Nick Suban (Bacchus Marsh), Andrew Hooper (Golden Point), Will Young (North Ballarat Juniors), Jordan Roughead (Lake Wendouree).