The Country All-Stars team, which features Shepparton's Luke Dixon, is set to debut this weekend in Tennis Victoria's Premier League.MARC MCGOWAN March 1, 2013 4:10am
Luke Dixon (second from right) is Goulburn Valley’s sole Country All-Stars representative, but the likes of Shepparton’s Nick Gattuso (far left) could contend for a spot in the future.
Tennis Victoria country director Ken Barton says the inaugural Country All-Stars team will be out to prove tonight and beyond its players are just as capable as their metropolitan counterparts.
The All-Stars make their Premier League debut tonight against the might of Kooyong at Royal South Yarra before backing up against MCC at Doveton on Sunday.
Shepparton’s Luke Dixon is part of the 15-man All-Stars squad, but is not playing tonight or on Sunday.
‘‘Traditionally there’s a bit of, ‘Are country players as good as metropolitan players?’,’’ Barton said. ‘‘It will say a lot if this team is competitive and it really does indicate the importance of producing champions from country areas.
‘‘Australia has a strong history of that occurring and sometimes it’s tough for country guys to get the opportunity and feel as if they’re good enough.’’
Barton said the sole criterion for the All-Stars was a minimum of 50 per cent of the team had to be from the country.
‘‘That was put in there to ensure the team was competitive, because there was some concern,’’ he said.
‘‘But what’s happened is the response has been so strong, in terms of players originally from the country, that the (50 per cent) requirement is not as significant as what it was first thought to be.
‘‘The team, on paper, looks very competitive and it will be interesting to see how it does perform.’’
Dixon’s teammates are Australian Junior Davis Cup player Harry Bourchier, Andrew Gregory, Ryan Palfrey, Matt Hicks, Jayde Culph, Mark Shanahan, Curt Garwood, Aiden Fitzgerald, Mitchell Allman, Adam Fleming, Paul Rowbottom, Matt Maloney, Matt Fitzpatrick and Justin Robinson.
Bendigo-based Fleming is the team captain.
Barton said Bendigo Tennis Association executive officer Leon Retallick and Tennis Victoria tennis operations manager Nick Hinneberg had played leading roles in the All-Stars’ inception.
‘‘This is a great opportunity where country kids can see that, without going to the city, they have the opportunity to compete in these competitions,’’ he said. ‘‘Traditionally players would have had to secure a spot at a metropolitan-based club, so that’s exciting in that it’s the best country players.’’
The Country All-Stars will compete against Grace Park, MCC, Royal South Yarra, Kooyong Lawn TC, Dingley TC and Waverley.
There are seven rounds before the semi-final and final are held on April 12 and 14, respectively.
The sky is the limit for Wanganui Year 12 VCAL student Leigh Polan, 18, who decided to create two posters examining birdlife around the school.
The under 16 Pigeons kick started the YFNC's finals campaign with a resounding victory over the Paul Spargo led Scots College in the Grand Final of the AWJFL Elwyn Langford Shield at the Albury Sports Ground on Sunday.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
An ad for the Healthy Ageing Project will be filmed in Echuca, Rushworth and Rochester today.
More than $15,000 was raised at a family day on Sunday. The event was to raise money for the families of Barry Purtell and Dave Lobb.
Book Week gets colourful turnout.
Deaprtment of Environment and Primary Industries unhappy about Mt Disappointment vandals.
Jerilderie Shire deputy mayor Ruth McRae handed the key over for the new Rural Fire Service station last Friday.
Farmers have a new weapon in the fight against mice.
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
Murray Irrigation to search for new boss after Anthony Couroupis finishes with the company.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
The Benalla Indian Myna Action Group will pay a $1 per bird bounty on live birds delivered to CAL farm. National Party MP Bill Sykes donated $100 to fund the bounty.
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