DEDERANG-Mount Beauty coach Marc Almond has started the mind games ahead of Saturday’s second semi-final by declaring Mitta United as premiership favourites.
Although the Bombers finished on top of the ladder and haven’t lost since round five when they went down to Chiltern by eight points, Almond said the reigning champion’s record shouldn’t be under- estimated.
“In my eyes they are clearly still the team to beat,” Almond said.
“They are last year’s premier and I know we finished on top, but at the end of the day you have to beat Mitta in a final to show that you have improved.
“We finished on top, but obviously had an easier draw.
“I look at Mitta as the Osborne of the Hume league.
“Mitta has shown over the years that it can perform at the right time of the year.
“We aren’t thinking about premierships, we’re looking at trying to get over a powerhouse that is Mitta.”
Mitta United used every ounce of its finals experience to dismantle Thurgoona last weekend with Luke Vandersluys and Alex Beggs covering the loss of suspended leading forward James Gray.
The Blues’ biggest challenge on the weekend will be covering brothers Daniel and Darren Bradshaw who would have benefited more than most from last weekend’s spell.
Matt Lee shapes as another major stumbling block in defence while Elliott Powell has saved his best form for some of the Bombers’ biggest matches this season and Joel Mansell continues to fly under the radar.
The Blues lost their previous meeting to Dederang-Mount Beauty by three goals and will need running players Jarrod Gorupic, Nathan Reynoldson and Darcy Eaton to generate plenty to drive.
Reynoldson got the ball rolling at the stoppages against Thurgoona, but could be hurt by ruckman Nick Fraser’s potential absence with a knee injury.