ILLAWARRA PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL
Bulliare out to end a 26-year grand final victory drought in tomorrow's Illawarra Premier League decider against Port Kembla at WIN Stadium.
Ben Smith's men have been the runners-up in four of the past seven grand finals and are more motivated then ever to rid themselves of the "perennial bridesmaids" tag.
Last season's 3-1 loss to Dapto-Dandaloo Fury is still fresh in the minds of the playing group and coach Smith, who was a player in three of those grand final losses for Bulli.
"Unfortunately the old saying that 'we are due' is right but I don't think it really works like that," Smith said.
"A lot of the boys have been through it before now, I think there is a couple we need to settle right down now and a couple we will need to rev up.
"No-one is getting too serious, too early this year that is for sure."
Despite keeping a cool head before the decider, Smith couldn't help but ponder the enormous impact a grand final win would have on the club.
"It would be a great thrill [for me] but it would be more rewarding for the club and for me personally more exciting for the players and particularly more important for the people who have been with the club for a long time," Smith said.
"If we could get the silverware I guess I would be more happy for those guys than myself that is for sure."
To secure the trophy, the coach will be relying on a similar display to the one that saw Bulli secure a 1-0 major semi-final win over Port.
His charges dominated the Zebras on that day, but are preparing for a resurgent performance from the League Championship winners in the decider.
"We're definitely wary of their front men, Aliffi and Pires," Smith said.
"But their supply comes from behind so we have got to be wary of the whole team not just the two boys up front.
"Full credit to them they can create goals from nothing as well but a lot of their goals would have come from supply from the midfield as well."
Port Kembla coach Stuart Beedie agreed with his opposite number and is hoping his squad steps up to the mark on grand final day.
"We are just looking to do ourselves justice, obviously we went to the big stage last time and just didn't perform the last time we played Bulli there," Beedie said.
"We didn't just didn't do ourselves justice in terms of how we can play, but I am really confident the boys will stand up and show what they can do."
The Zebras showed through the 2013 campaign what they are capable of in a 16-game winning stretch, but Beedie is adamant those results count for nothing at WIN Stadium tomorrow.
"That is gone, done and dusted now," Beedie said.
"We have to go and show a real hunger to put the icing on the cake.
"That is the most important thing now, the League Championship means nothing now really.
"If we won the league but got beat in the grand final, well that is not good enough for Port Kembla.
"We are not going to accept that this year."
Port will be without suspended centre-back Carlo Stella for the final. He is likely to be replaced by Lachlan Fetterplace in the starting line-up.