Coach: Luke Hodgkin
Last year: Sixth (9-9)
Gains: Shane Munro, Tom Gibbs (Raiders), Nick Hynes (Wodonga), Darcy McKimmie (Cudgewa), Harry Schubert (Bullioh)
Losses: Ethan Redcliffe (Wodonga), Jake Hodgkin (Macleod), Joe Bolton (Bullioh), Jye Hodgkin (Bullioh)
Most recent finals appearance: 2018
Most recent flag: 2012
Captain: Joe Hodgkin
Q&A with LUKE HODGKIN
Who starts the season flag favourites and why?: It's a bit like splitting hairs between Chiltern and Kiewa-Sandy Creek who have both kept their lists intact. The two league heavyweights have played off in the last two grand finals and you could mount a strong case that they have only gotten stronger and are clearly the two to beat.
Your likely top-five?: I think it will be the same top-four from last year in Chiltern, Kiewa-Sandy Creek, Yackandandah and Beechworth. We can certainly sneak into the top-five if we play to our potential.
Which side is likely to be the biggest improver?: Rutherglen obviously had a tough season last year but have brought back quite a few locals and will be much more competitive in 2024.
Best player in the competition?: The man they call 'VB'... Dylan Van Berlo. If he has the sort of the season most people expect his initials could also stand for the 'very best.'
Best recruit in the competition over the off-season?: Obviously Van Berlo has been a great performer at O&M level for a long time now but so has Shane Munro with Raiders. I think both players will have a huge impact this year and can't wait to see Shane in the Big V with us.
Which recruit at your club excites you the most and why?: I've played with both Shane and Tom previously and have a really good idea on what they will bring and obviously 'Hynesy' is a proven goal kicker at this level. But I am really excited to see the Upper Murray boys apply themselves in the TDFL and what impact they can have. Particularly Darcy given the year he had last year at Cudgewa.
Who has been the standout at pre-season training so far?: Two young blokes in Baxter Wilson and Charlie Bowles have been the clear stand outs with their fitness levels and application.
How tough was recruiting this off-season compared to previous years?: It is always a tough gig and this year was no different.
What have the numbers been like at pre-season training?: Really pleasing, we have been able to give a few of our older blokes a bit of an extended break this year and still have better numbers than previous years.
What are your expectations this season?: We expect to make finals and from there you give yourself a chance.
WE SAY: Mitta United may have only missed finals by percentage last season but their sixth-place finish was arguably flattered by a friendly draw where they played all bottom four sides twice which guaranteed eight of their nine wins. While competitive at full-strength, the Mountain Men's lack of depth was sorely exposed when injuries inevitably hit during the season. While their top-six players last year including Jarrod, Luke and Jake Hodgkin alongside Ethan Redcliffe and Louie Miller are the equal of most sides in the competition, they won't have the same luxury this season. Losing Redcliffe is a savage blow and you have to feel for the Blues who re-signed the star goalkicker on a two-year deal before he decided to rejoin Wodonga before Christmas. Nick Hynes is a proven goalkicker at this level and booted 65 goals for Dederang-Mount Beauty two years ago but Hynes doesn't make defenders nervous like Redcliffe can when in full-flight. Miller is set to spend a large chunk of the season overseas with work commitments and alongside the departure of Jake Hodgkin will leave a gaping hole in the Blues' midfield rotations. No doubt Shane Munro, Tom Gibbs and Darcy McKimmie should prove to be quality signings but it's hard to see the Blues snaring a finals berth unless they can add further depth to the list.