JOEL Brown never expected to captain his country in anything.
But this weekend, the hopes of a nation will rest on his shoulders as he leads Australia at the FIM Freestyle of Nations in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
The Griffith product heads a quality three-man squad which will take on some of the finest freestyle motocross riders in the world.
Brown, who departed Griffith yesterday for yet another whirlwind dash to Europe, told The Area News he was still pinching himself.
"It's pretty bloody cool," he said.
"It's not something I ever thought I would to be able to do.
"I got very lucky - Australia's got a whole heap of great riders, some are under contract for Nitro so they can't do it.
"But even to get your name mentioned is a dream come true."
Brown and fellow Australians Robbie Marshall and Truman Carroll will compete in a variety of disciplines, and a complex scoring system will be used to produce an aggregate figure that will rank them against other strong FMX countries.
He believes Australia is in with a red-hot chance.
"A lot of the other countries have really strong teams as well - Spain, France, the USA are all awesome," he said.
"There's probably four countries that could take first place but Australia's certainly one of them. We could do it.
"All we've got to do is our best to nail everything.
"In these competitions, even a slight slip-up can cost you half a point and your whole run.
"It's going to take everything that each rider's got."
But Brown, who finished third at the Kia World Extreme Games held earlier this month in China, admits his preparation has been far from ideal.
Unable to squeeze in one final training run at home on Monday due to excess wind, he is nursing a number of injuries.
At the start of the year, Brown returned home from international competition with a lacerated kidney, torn cartilage in his rib and a crack in his right ankle.
He re-injured his ankle on Saturday, performing at Sydney's Spotless Stadium after the GWS Giants v Richmond AFL match.
"That wasn't too fun," he laughed.
"I wish I had another week before I go over.
"I've been working on a couple of tricks that could get me first place but I've just run out of time.
"I might try a couple in practice over there but I don't really want to be doing anything that I'm not 100 per cent."