There’s never any love lost between Myrtleford and Wangaratta.
The arch-rivals will meet for the first time this season in a top-of-the-table clash at Savoy Park on Sunday.
There’s plenty at stake for both sides, with the Savoys looking to open up a six-point lead in the league race, while a win for Wangaratta will draw them level on top and send departing star Adam Burchell off on a high.
Savoys’ co-coach Jayden Vescio admits the senior group has an incredible drive to keep winning, following a year since its last defeat.
“We’ve got a really tight group of boys at the moment,” Vescio said.
“On the weekend, it was the first time we were down (in a game) for a long time and we able to keep executing what we planned and managed to get on a roll.
“It doesn’t matter that it’s one v two, or first v last when it’s a derby, it’s normally pretty intense.
“Burch has been a big part of their success over the last few years and they’re obviously wanting to do it for him, and, on top of that it’s a derby, but I’m sure our boys will be ready to go.”
Nathan Mirt and Nagus Henry will both be unlikely for Sunday, but Vescio isn’t too concerned with plenty of attacking weapons at his disposal.
“Parksy (Matt Park) and Tommy (Tom Youngs) just play their role as forwards and wingers, but we’ve got the least amount of goals conceded,” he said.
“We’ve got a really solid defence and our defence is scoring goals.
“Jake Miles scored twice on the weekend from left back, while Brenton Cooke and Rahul Pahina have come back this year and are really good centre halves.
“But there’s match-winners on both teams.
“There’s been games where Burch has got a hold of us for 15 minutes and La Fiera last year, Parksy did the same and scored five.”
Burchell admitted he will be emotional running out in his last appearance for the Devils before he makes the switch to Goulburn Valley Suns, but will try to put it to the back of his mind.
“It’s always a fiery game and a tough game for us because Myrt always bring their A game,” Burchell said.
“You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due, what they’ve done in the past year is very special to be unbeaten for a whole year.
“We’ve got to go into the game feeling confident and not with fear, and I know for a fact they will be very confident as well.”
George Elkotta will miss with suspension, but Ryan Vandersteeg is a chance to return from a knee injury.
“His (Vandersteeg) presence on the pitch can scare people and skill-wise he’s a great player,” Burchell said.
“He’s one of the players I’ll miss playing with.”