VICTORIA is confident it can upstage lawn bowls powers New South Wales and Queensland when the Australian Sides Championship and Super Six starts at Bendigo Bowls Club today.
Central Victorian bowlers will play a major role in the home state’s chances on the Barnard Street greens.
Former Bendigo-based duo Aaron Wilson and Peter Loe and the Bendigo-born Barrie Lester are key players in the men’s squad.
Young gun Carla Odgers, 22, works as a nurse in Kyneton and is one of Victoria’s skippers in the women’s events.
Odgers said the Victorian women have high hopes this week.
“We’ve got nothing to lose,’’ Odgers said.
“We’re on our home track, we’ve played plenty of bowls here (in Bendigo) and we’re in good form coming off the state championships last week.
“We’re ready to come out all guns blazing.”
Lisa Phillips will defend her singles crown, while Odgers will skipper the pairs team with Paula Wood.
Samantha Shannahan will skipper the triples alongside lead Elise Cown and second Brooke Edwards.
“New South Wales is always the team to beat,’’ Odgers said.
“They’ve generally had the upper hand on us, but we did beat them in the last Test we played.
“You can’t just worry about New South Wales. All the other states have the talent to win. “The greens are a lot quicker up here...they’re probably the best greens in Victoria at the moment.
“Hopefully, the rain stays away, because there should be some great bowls played.”
Bendigo’s Aaron Wilson will be Victoria’s representative in the Super Six men’s singles, while Loe will lead the pairs.
Queensland has dominated the men’s tournament in recent years, while Victoria hasn’t won the Sides championship since 2002.
However, this year the Maroons will be without two of last year’s stars – Mark Casey and Brett Wilkie. Casey has crossed to New South Wales where he will play singles in the Super Six.
Queensland will be led this year by Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kelvin Kerkow, who makes his return to this elvel after a two-year absence.
The Super Six tournament will be played today and tomorrow, while the Australian Sides Championship starts on Monday.
Three rounds of the Super Six will be played today, starting at 8.30am.
The Vics play Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland in their pool matches today.
The finals of the Super Six will be played tomorrow between 9.30am and noon.
Admission is free for spectators.