After two wins in his two games coaching the Hampden Football League, AFL triple-premiership player Jonathan Brown is ready to go up against the Ballarat Football League at Mars Stadium.
Brown know's his upcoming clash against the BFL will be his biggest coaching challenge so far in the AFL Victoria Community Championships but believes his side has the talent to succeed.
"I think we're going to have a pretty strong lineup," he said.
"There's been some great investment by the boys, they're all really keen to play. We've had a pretty good run of injuries so we'll have close to our best side available on Saturday."
Brown will be hoping his players can replicate some of his amazing highlights on Saturday.
Brown says preparing for the match-up has been difficult as the teams change so drastically for year to year. Nevertheless he is expecting a hard-fought, high quality contest between the two sides.
"I suppose it's quite difficult (to prepare), you can only go off previous years and traditionally Ballarat has been strong with a lot of talented players," Brown said.
"We've done a bit of work on the Ballarat side but it's a bit of an unknown until we get to game-time. They've been in the top half of Victorian leagues for a while now - we're expecting a tough game."
It has been Brown's goal to return Hampden to the former glory he witnessed growing up in Warnambool. He believes a win on the road against the BFL will go a long way in doing so.
"It's very important to us... we'd start to enter the conversation as one of the best leagues in the state. The league has enjoyed a bit of an up-lift over the past two or three years with some talented players returning or coming to play their footy here."Jonathan Brown
"(The success) brings back good memories from my younger days. My old man Brian coached Hampden in the 1980s and the chairman of selectors Leigh McCluskey coached the team to a state title in 1991 so it's about getting back to when the Hampden league was one of the premier leagues in the state."
Brown has had six weeks of competition to pick his team from, giving him a better opportunity to figure out who he can bring together to help the Bottle Greens get over the line. Brown's team will be highlighted by some talented ex-AFL footballers from the region.
"Some of the bigger names like Dan Nicholson (former Melbourne Demon) and Tom Couch (former Melbourne Demon) have played some fantastic footy early in the year."
The luxury of playing on a surface like Mars Stadium is not lost on Brown and believes playing on AFL quality grounds provides great incentive to country leagues to perform well in their interleague games.
"That's part of the allure of working your way to the top rung, it's something for the boys to strive to."
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