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.
For the Atanga family, the best part about living in Australia is not the sunshine or the laidback lifestyle — it's the feeling of safety.
The Tungamah Football Netball Club has completed a fairytale season to clinch the Picola and District Football Netball League South East Premiership with an emphatic 106 point win over the Katamatite Tigers at Tungamah.
Billed as ‘Fabulous Flowers and Fine Food’, Tatura’s Anglican Church Parish had a successful fundraiser on Thursday, September 4.
Former Nothern United bowler Brodie Unwin will play for Kyabram Fire Brigade 2014-15 Goulburn Murray Cricket season.
Campaspe River Reserve Committee has installed more signs along the walking track, complementing the 10 historical signs already in place.
Don’t write Ky off yet, says coach ahead of preliminary final
More than $800 000 to expand the popular Seymour-based program.
Semi-retired Finley truck driver Ron Brown has been indcuted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame.
New solar panels are helping light up Redesdale hall.
Governor of Victoria tours the Cobram region, praising community spirit, volunteers and resilient businesses.
First-year Mathoura recruit Nick Tucker took out the Timbercutters' best and fairest award on Saturday night.
Now the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is enshrined in law, many opponents of the controversial plan to return irrigation water to the environment appear to have lost interest.
More than 30 local farmers are objecting to the plan, arguing the lead shot could contaminate waterways and the large number of shooters and noise will disturb clean, green farming in the area.
- Acclaimed pastry chef returns to Benalla
- Benalla resident on journey to help others with mental illness
- Benalla Rural City Council CEO re-appointed for another four years
- 550 jobs saved at Thales munitions factories, but losses still likely
- Benalla quinella caps off superb night at GVFL best and fairest
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.