Collingwood will be well represented at the upcoming Wheelchair National Championships with four players selected for various teams.
Ben Jankovski, Will Crooks, Anthony Perito and Josh Christian have all been picked for next month’s carnival and will represent the Club across three different sides.
Magpies Captain Jankovski will play for Victoria Country for a second year and said it was a great honour to be selected.
“This is my second time, I played for Vic Country last year as well and have got the call up again this year which is awesome,” he said.
“They’ve (Victoria) got a Metro team and they’ve done it differently this year where they’ve been really specific on it being Country and Metro."
“Last year it was just like Vic A and Vic B pretty much and I was listed to play Metro, but a few players came in and due to leadership and everything like that, so they thought that they’d best suit me in the Country team.”
The competition will be staged from November first to fifth at the State Netball & Hockey Centre, with the Pies teammates having the opportunity to now play against each other.
2023 Best & Fairest Winner Crooks and standout player Perito will play for Victoria Metro, while Josh Christian will suit up for Tasmania.
“Will and Anthony especially have been great all year, Anthony has come in and had such a great impact on our team,” Jankovski said.
“For him to get rewarded in the Metro team having played with him in Country last year is a credit to his hard work and everything that he’s been able to do."
“Will is coming off the back of a Norm Smith if you like in the Nationals last year in his Grand Final and obviously backed it up with a trophy this year."
“We’ve got Josh who lives in Tassie so he’s playing for Tassie which is great and a few others that are topping up for other teams which is great too."
“I’m really happy with the team, for all of them to put their hand up after a big year it shows a really good commitment.”
Jankovski, who works at the Club as a Disability Inclusion Officer, said it was extremely significant to him to continue representing the Club in all aspects of his life.
Whether it is through work, playing for the Pies, or going onto higher levels such as this, Jankovski is just glad to be doing what he loves.
“I just feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, I’ve always wanted to represent Collingwood in some way,” he said.
“Every little kid wants to play for Collingwood, I was no different and to go through what I went through and be put on a pathway to end up here and have such a future in the space is the most important thing to me."
“Feeling like I’m part of the Club and being in the four walls day to day and having a purpose here rather than just being a trophy or a guinea pig almost to be like ‘look who we’ve got in’, I actually have a purpose here and I feel like that when I’m on the court leading my teammates.”
Watch Ben's full story of adversity to triumph below.