Mitta United and Barnawartha to resume rivalry in crucial clash

DYNAMIC DUO: Mitta's Jack Gilbee and Daniel Stewart have been in excellent form for the Mountain Men throughout the season. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS
DYNAMIC DUO: Mitta's Jack Gilbee and Daniel Stewart have been in excellent form for the Mountain Men throughout the season. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

After a slow start, Mitta has stamped itself as one of the form teams of the competition in the past six weeks.

The Mountain Men have claimed six victories in a row, including triumphs against top five fancies Wahgunyah and Rutherglen.

Coach Mark Dicketts admits after taking just two points from his first three games at the helm, the side has gelled excellently.

“Obviously last year they made the grand final, but there was a fair turnover of players,” Dicketts said.

“Whenever you have a decent amount of turnover it takes time for the new guys to fit in and work out the best position for everyone and know how each other plays.”

He added there has been a good spread of contributors throughout the streak of wins.

“Jack Gilbee and Craig Lieschke have been very consistent, a couple of the new guys Kyle Maynard and Nick Gilbert have been really good and we’ve got a couple of kids that have stepped up,” Dicketts said.

“Jackson Ellis has come in the last couple of weeks from the thirds and played some really good footy and Jesse Kennett has been there all year and has been playing his role.”

A trip to Barnawartha awaits on Saturday and Dicketts is hoping the side can go one better after drawing with the Tigers at Eskdale back in round two.

“Barny’s form has been as good as any others over the last four or five weeks and they’re sixth, so we won’t be taking them too lightly,” he said.

“Talking to a lot of the older guys, they’re probably a team over the last six years that have given Mitta a little bit of trouble.”

But the side isn’t looking any further ahead than Saturday, despite crucial clashes with Thurgoona and Kiewa-Sandy Creek to come.

“We might be only two points off second, but we’re only two points inside the top three as well,” Dicketts said.

“We’d like to think we’ve come a long way, but one slip up and you really risk that top three position.”

Barnawartha coach Mitch Exton isn’t sure what to expect on the weekend, in what has developed into a good rivalry with Mitta.

“Each game that we have is closer and it’s going to create a bit more for the next match,” Exton said.

But he admits his side can’t afford another loss if they want to be in finals mix.

Exton is hopeful of having Paul Harrington available for the clash in an otherwise unchanged line-up that accounted for the Hawks last weekend.

Ladder leaders Thurgoona host Rutherglen to maintain their two-game buffer at the top.

Kiewa-Sandy Creek will be eager to restore its winning form with victory over Dederang-Mount Beauty.

Yackandandah hosts the struggling Chiltern.

Beechworth can make it two on the bounce with a win over Tallangatta, while the Wodonga Saints will still be on a high from their first win in 48 attempts when they take on the in-form Wahgunyah.

DYNAMIC DUO: Mitta's Jack Gilbee and Daniel Stewart have been in excellent form for the Mountain Men throughout the season. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

DYNAMIC DUO: Mitta's Jack Gilbee and Daniel Stewart have been in excellent form for the Mountain Men throughout the season. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS