SOUTH COAST AFL
Wollongong Bulldogs are into a fourth straight South Coast AFL first grade grand final following Saturday's torrid 11-point preliminary final victory over Bomaderry at Bargo Sports Ground.
The Bulldogs bounced back from a loss to Kiama in the qualifying final to set up a third straight grand final against the Power on Saturday at North Dalton Park.
Wollongong have made the premiership decider in each of their four seasons in first grade and broke through for their maiden flag last year with a thrilling victory over the Power.
Kiama beat the Bulldogs with an after-the-siren goal in 2011, with Bomaderry beating Wollongong in the 2010 decider.
Wollongong were made to work hard for their grand final spot by a determined Bomaderry, who led by a point at quarter-time.
A four-goal-to-two second term earned Wollongong a nine-point lead at half-time and the Bulldogs built on their advantage in the third term, kicking five goals to three to lead by 25 points at three quarter-time.
Bomaderry never stopped trying, winning the final quarter to ensure they finished the season with heads high.
Wollongong coach Lee Murray was proud his club had made the grand final all four seasons in first grade.
"It's a massive achievement, especially when you consider 11 of our premiership 22 from last season aren't here this season," Murray said.
"We're constantly rebuilding, and to make it all the way to the end again is something we're proud of."
Murray said the defensive pressure that was missing in the qualifying final returned against the Tigers.
"Our pressure game was back to where it needed to be and it'll have to be there again this week.
"The dynamics in our side have changed in the past 12 months from being an attacking side to a more defensive outfit and our pressure is a key for us."
Bulldogs onballer Marty Brown kicked two goals and had a massive game, while Lachlan Maloney and Nick Swiriduik also booted two goals. Murray was rapt with the defensive pressure of Brown, while Ben Foster did a great job on the half-back flank.
Jordan Mathews booted five goals for Bomaderry.
In a dramatic reserve grade preliminary final between Albatross and Wollongong, a scoreboard error and a last-minute goal by Albatross, led to confusion over the final score.
With the game over, South Coast AFL officials went through the final quarter scoring before declaring a draw - 8.5 (53) to 8.5 (53).
The match continued with five minutes each half of extra time, with Albatross Demons winning 11.6 (72) to 10.5 (65).
Albatross' victory denied Wollongong a sixth straight grand final in reserve grade. The Demons will take on minor premiers Port Kembla for the premiership.