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National championships awaits for region’s athletes

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Grace Frost
Grace Frost
Hi, I'm Grace Frost. I was honoured to report for the Review as their Digital Journalist from mid-2022 to the beginning of 2024. Ive since made a move to the Herald Sun.

By Grace Frost

Two of the region’s residents will represent Victoria Country at the Wheelchair AFL National Championships this week.

Wallan’s Adam Georgelin and Chintin’s Ben Jankovski each secured a place in the Victorian Country team, named among the state’s 20 best wheelchair footballers.

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Georgelin and Jankovski both compete in the Victorian Wheelchair Football League, VWFL, for Essendon and Collingwood respectively.

Each year, VWFL players contend for the opportunity to represent the state at the Wheelchair AFL National Championships, with selection taking into account the footballers’ performance during the season and at tryouts.

Every state and territory, as well as the Australian Defence Force and Returned Services League of Australia, will field teams in the competition this year.

Victoria has two teams in the running – Vic Metro and Vic Country – with 10 players in each.

Chintin resident and Collingwood player Ben Jankovski was selected as one of Victoria’s top 20 wheelchair footballers, set to compete with the Vic Country team at the national championships. ​

Georgelin and Jankovski will compete in the national tournament for their second time, both as Vic Country players this year.

It is a welcome change for Georgelin, who last year represented Tasmania as a ‘top-up’ player when the side was short on competitors.

The team emerged bronze medalists in division one, while Vic Metro took home gold.

“That was a great experience, but to be handpicked as a member of the team for the region where I live – it’s a huge honour, it’s something else,” he said.

Vic Country are scheduled to play Tasmania in the first round of the competition, leaving Georgelin to stare down his old team in what is bound to be an ‘interesting’ match.

Merging old teammates and rivals alike, Georgelin said the Vic Country team was shaping up as a strong contender for the win.

“Personally, I’m confident,” he said.

“We’ll potentially go in as the underdogs, but I feel like we’re equally as strong as the Metro side.

“I feel like we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.”

Teams will compete in back-to-back games over the first two ‘intense’ days of the competition, beginning November 2, to detemine their places in either division one or two.

Games are played for about 15 minutes each, shorter than standard 40-minute games.

Once divisions are decided, teams will battle it out in longer games for a spot in finals on November 5.

Georgelin said his recent undertaking of bodybuilding should help build his endurance for the fast-paced competition.

“For the standard season, we do training twice a week,” he said.

“But with this more compacted season, with bodybuilding, I’ve got myself a couple of personal trainers, a nutritionist, a strengthened conditioning coach, so it’s all going to help me significantly, I would imagine.

“I’m not sure how much game time I’m going to get, but I’ll be making the most of every opportunity that I do get because I’m 42 this year.”

AFL Wheelchair is played on basketball courts, with five players from each team on the court at a time, able to score by hand-balling through smaller versions of AFL goalposts.

Players hand-ball instead of kicking the football, and underarm throw instead of hand-balling.

The competition will commence on Thursday at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Melbourne, with finals on Sunday.

“Anyone can come and watch – it’d be great to get some crowds in there,” Georgelin said.

The tournament will also be live-streamed on Kayo Sports.

For more information, visit https://www.wheelchairaflchampionship.au/

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