King of Big V

By Andrew Johnston

EVERYONE wants to wear the Big V — but only a very talented few get the chance.

Jeff Kinvig is in Tasmania now, playing for Vic Country in the 2018 AFL National Inclusion Carnival.

Kinvig is the latest in a proud line of Echuca-Moama Rockets to pull on that hallowed jumper.

As the third Rocket in three years to play for Vic Country, Kinvig knows this is not just a big moment for him, it is a massive endorsement for his club and the program behind it.

Because he is as aware as the next person one of the reasons, maybe the biggest reason, you look good on the field is the work rate of your teammates around you.

‘‘It will be an honour to play with Vic Country and represent the Rockets,’’ Kinvig said.

‘‘Playing with other guys who I have never played with before as part of Vic Country will be very special for me.’’

Selection and Tasmania are both firsts for Kinvig.

It’s not only his first time in the Big V, it’s also his first time outside Victoria (except maybe for the odd trip into Moama).

‘‘I’ve never been to Tasmania before, I’ve never been on a trip like this, so I’m really looking forward to going,’’ he said.

Kinvig’s 2018 form for the Rockets has been stellar.

In the first two rounds of the CVGT Cup this year, he has been a constant in the bests for the side, and a crucial goal kicker.

He puts his improvement this season down to training with Echuca as well as the Rockets.

‘‘I started my pre-season in October with Echuca, so I got a lot of work in with them,’’ he said.

‘‘I also got to go down to Carlton’s home ground with the Echuca boys to do some training, which has really helped me out a lot.’’

And his hard work has been rewarded.

‘‘My fitness and skill levels have improved massively this year,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s been a lot of hard work to get where I am, but it has all been worth it to get here.’’

Vic Country last won the National Inclusion Carnival in 2014, but it’s been dominated by Vic Metro ever since — they are shooting for their fourth straight crown.

But the biggest source of excitement for Kinvig is the opportunity to just be at the carnival with so many great footballers.

‘‘It’s really exciting to go down there and play with these players, and to get to know a lot of the other guys from around the country,’’ he said.

Kinvig has spoken to Game On, and you can catch his full interview tonight in the latest instalment on the Riv’s facebook page.