No time to relax as heat is rising

MULWALA is a shock ladder leader after seven rounds but co-coach Ben James has warned the Lions won’t be there for long if they drop their bundle in the coming weeks.

The Lions, tipped by most to fall back to the pack this year after making last season’s grand final, have emerged as the early surprise-packet of the Murray league season.

But with a string of blockbusters to come, including Saturday against Finley, James said he and his troops could not afford to get ahead of themselves.

“These next five or six weeks will really sort us out,” James said.

“Finley is right up there with the best.

“It’s a massive game for us.

“We’ve got Rumbalara, Barooga, Echuca United and then Deni after that, so that will really show where we are at.”

There’s a log-jam at the top of the ladder right now.

The Lions are on top of the table after seven rounds but have just one more win for the season than sixth-placed Finley.

James admits he didn’t expect to be sitting on top at this point in the year.

“Definitely not,” he said.

“I knew we had a good side but there’s no guarantees.

“We’re rapt to be where we are.

“It’s really tight.”

In a major plus for the Lions, they’ll regain a host of players — including livewire forward Troy Taylor — in time for Saturday’s clash with the Cats.

In other games this week, Barooga faces a stern test at home when it hosts much-improved Rumbalara.

The Hawks sit second on percentage but will need to be at their best to account for Damian Cupido’s side.

Elsewhere, Congupna hits the road to Echuca to take on the reigning premier.

The Eagles go in fav-ourites.

Moama hosts Num-urkah, while Cobram travels to Tongala.

Deniliquin Rams take on Nathalia.