Surprise packet Lions keep the lid on

Mulwala coach Ben James. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK
Mulwala coach Ben James. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

MULWALA is this year’s surprise packet in the Murray league, but co-coach Ben James isn’t getting carried away with the Lions’ hot start to the season.

James said he was happy for Mulwala to keep defying pre-season predictions, but wasn’t adjusting his expectations as a result.

The Lions have won four of their opening five games despite losing a host of big names over the summer.

“It’s probably not what was expected but I knew we’d have a good side,” James said.

“The aim all along has been to play finals and we’ll stick to that goal.

“We’ll just keep chipping away at that.”

Mulwala has won four on the trot after dropping its season opener against Deniliquin Rams.

But with clashes still to come against high-flying top six rivals Nathalia, Finley, Rumbalara, Barooga and reigning premier Echuca United, James has reason to be guarded about the Lions’ premiership chances.

“We’ve got off to a good start but we need to get better,” he said.

“Starting this week.

“It’s massive.

“If we can beat Nathalia and hit the bye 5-1, I’ll be rapt.

“We’ve got a tough stretch coming up.

In an added boost for the Lions, they could regain star recruit Troy Taylor this weekend.

The former Richmond livewire has been sidelined for the past three games with achilles troubles.

“It’s been good that we’ve been able to win without him,” James said.

“If he’s not back this week, then it will definitely be after the bye.”

In other games, Barooga will be hoping to continue on its merry way when it hosts Numurkah on Saturday.

Deniliquin Rams head to Congupna to face The Road, Rumbalara plays host to struggling Cobram and Tongala comes up against Moama at Moama.

Unbeaten ladder leader Finley travels to Echuca to tackle United in the match of the round.

The Cats are the only team in the competition to win all five of their games in a flying start to the season.