Mitta United missed finals in 2019 for the first time since 2015. But newly appointed coach Jackson Heagney-Steart is aiming for the Blues' finals absence to be short-lived and has delivered on his promise to attract as much local talent back to the club as possible.
Heagney-Steart recently spoke to The Border Mail about his expectations this season.
BRENT GODDE: How have you approached the pre-season?
HEAGNEY-STEART: I've just focussed on providing an enjoyable environment for the boys to train. We treated the pre-Christmas block as an opportunity for social interaction but we will increase the intensity now with the season less than three months away.
BG: Have you been happy with the numbers?
JH: I can't complain.
BG: You have been successful in your goal of luring former players back to the club?
JH: Drew Cameron, Dan Hales and Joe Hodgkin have committed which was our recruiting priority. I feel there has been plenty of talent at the club in the past, it's just a matter of getting them all together.
BG: Drew Cameron is coming off a knee reconstruction. Do you expect Cameron to be fit for your season opener against Tallangatta?
JH: Absolutely. Drew is in good nick and has really committed to his rehabilitation and has been working hard over the pre-season. I think he feels he has a point to prove and is determined to get back to playing the sort of football that we know he is capable of.
BG: It's fair to say that Mitta's Achilles heel in 2019 was its depth. Do you feel you have been able to address the issue?
JH: I would like to think we have. We are really excited by the depth that we have, not only in the seniors but all grades.
BG: Do you feel finals is a realistic goal?
JH: We have a lot to prove and I'm not going to shy away from the challenge. As coach, I'm going to set some high standards for the players. I see the competition as being really even and our aim certainly will be to play finals.
IN OTHER NEWS
BG: You are obviously a rookie coach and new to the league but do you have an opinion on who is the side to beat?
JH: I've followed the league fairly closely for the past couple of years. I feel Barnawartha will start the season as flag favourites. The Tigers played off in the grand final in 2019 and have added some quality players to their list. I think the have got a core group of players who have played a lot of football together which is a huge advantage in finals.
BG: You have a tough draw to start the season with matches against Tallangatta, Beechworth and Thurgoona?
JH: It will certainly give us a gauge of where we are at.