ILLAWARRA PREMIER LEAGUE
No-one will be happier to see Matt Bailey rewarded with a title-winning medal in tomorrow's Illawarra Premier League decider than his dad, Leo.
The 2012 Bulli club man of the year can count on one hand how many games he has missed his son play in recent times and will be a feature in the stands again at WIN Stadium.
His commitment was a major reason Matt made the decision to return to Balls Paddock from the NSW Premier League.
"I think the whole dynamic behind the club is very family focused," Bailey said.
"I am a local boy and I have got a lot of friends in and around the club so it wasn't a difficult decision to come back and play with Bulli.
"Everyone is very close and get on really well.
"We have got a good environment, a good first team and a good youth team.
"I think it is an important ingredient in youth grade finishing where they did and us being in the position we are on Sunday."
At a youthful Bulli outfit, the return of players with Bailey's higher-level experience is invaluable for a club looking to build a successful foundation for future years.
But while Bailey was happy to help in the development of Ben Smith's young squad, he believes his assistance could only do so much for an already impressive group of players.
"The boys are really keen and willing to learn and have a great amount of talent so, if anything, I have helped out where I could, but by and large they are pretty talented in their own right," Bailey said.
"Looking at the way the boys went last year, it was definitely a goal of ours to be competitive as we were last year.
"I think we have the calibre of players that we can go a bit further this year and then hopefully maintain that for a couple of years to come."
A grand final win for Bulli tomorrow could very well be the beginning of a dominant era for the Northern Suburbs club.
Bailey's midfield have developed an expansive passing game under the tutelage of Ben Smith and he believes that tomorrow's facilities will allow that game to flourish.
"I think the surface and the facilities here really suit us so I am looking forward to it, definitely," Bailey said.
"We are very happy to be in the grand final and first in at that."
"We are best placed, we have been all season," he said.
Bailey has had to shake off a hamstring injury for the decider, after limping off at half-time on his first visit to WIN Stadium.
He says it's a slight concern.