Hampden league leaders look forward to challenge

KOROIT skipper Isaac Templeton and Cobden key position player Paul Hinkley will carry leadership duties when Hampden takes on Ovens and Murray in Saturday’s Victorian Country Championships match at Wangaratta.

Coach Nick O’Sullivan last night announced Templeton as captain and Hinkley as vice-captain when Hampden’s final squad was named after training at Warrnambool.

Templeton steps up after having been vice-captain last year when Hampden smashed Sunraysia by 94 points.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Templeton said.

“It’s an honour to go up there and play against the best players from other leagues and see how you go.

“I love it. You play with blokes you hate during the year and it’s the one weekend you get to play with them and get to know they are good blokes.”

The midfielder, 29, is an interleague veteran, having first represented the Bottle Greens in 2008.

In 2012 he was part of the Geelong league’s win over Ballarat that earned that league a shot at the No. 1 ranking last year, which it then achieved.

Hinkley, who was vice-captain at Cobden for two years in 2012-13, was stunned by the announcement.

“I just thought there would be a lot more blokes in line than me,” he said.

“I’m very honoured, it means a lot. It was a shock to me.”

Hinkley, 26, who can play in the ruck, key forward and back, is set to embark on the biggest of his four consecutive interleague campaigns.

He has been given the job of starting on Ovens and Murray coach and former Carlton star Brendan Fevola.

“I’m under no illusions, it’s not going to be easy,” Hinkley said.

“I look forward to the challenge. The player he was at Carlton, he was a superstar. To be playing on him at interleague will be surreal.”

He said the vice-captaincy wouldn’t be a burden.

“It makes me want to stand up a bit more. It’s a huge honour (being vice-captain). Playing three games previously I have a bit more confidence than I had in my first interleague game.

“I never knew I was good enough. I just want to play the best I can at the best level I can.

“Whenever you get selected to train, I never think ‘it would be nice to have a weekend off’.

“I really enjoy it and want to play because you are getting together with the best players in the league.”

Hinkley and his teammates had a common goal in country Victoria’s fifth v sixth match.

“You are trying to elevate the league and all doing it together is the best part,” he said.

“We want to push our league up as much as we can.

“You look at the amount of good players in the league and we can do it.”

HFNL SQUAD:

Hampden interleague captain Isaac Templeton and assistant Paul Hinkley. Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

Hampden interleague captain Isaac Templeton and assistant Paul Hinkley. Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

B: Brendan Moore (Warrnambool), Paul Hinkley (Cobden), Dylan Gunning (Port Fairy)

HB: Chris Baxter (Terang Mortlake), Nick Bateman (Camperdown), Damian O’Connor (Terang Mortlake)

C: Sam Harkin (Cobden), Isaac Templeton (Koroit), Tim Meulendyks (Hamilton Kangaroos)

HF: Travis Graham (Warrnambool), Sam Dobson (Koroit), Brody Mahoney (Cobden)

F: Jake Myles (Portland), Dan Casey (Camperdown), Jeremy Hausler (Koroit)

Fol: Jordan Dillon (North Warrnambool Eagles), Nick Thompson (South Warrnambool), Jake Dignan (Portland)

Int: Jackson Bell (Warrnambool), Matthew Wines (North Warrnambool Eagles), Wil Pomorin (Terang Mortlake), Andrew McCarthy (Warrnambool)

Emerg: Hamish Waldron (Hamilton Kangaroos), Chris Bant (Terang Mortlake)

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