Balancing act for Bulli ahead of title campaign

FRATERNITY CUP 

A double-header weekend of fixtures will give Bulli coach Ben Smith a clearer picture on his selection conundrum ahead of the 2014 Premier League season.

The 2013 league runners-up play Tarrawanna tonight and South Coast United on Sunday, after rain washed out last week's round match.

With the season proper less than a month away, the matches shape as the perfect opportunity for Smith to test the capabilities of his new squad.

"It is a difficult balancing act because you obviously want to get some combinations but you also want to give people the opportunity to stake their claim before round one," Smith said.

"These next two games, we will rotate through, but after that any games we have moving forward will probably have a lot less changes to try and build those combinations for round one."

Bulli made a host of changes in the off-season, including losing Matt Bailey and Jordan Murray to the South Coast Wolves.

But Smith said the club was satisfied with its new playing roster.

"We are looking OK. We have lost a couple of players and picked up a couple, but everyone around the club is pretty happy with the squad that we have got," Smith said.

While winning the Fraternity Cup is still on Smith's radar, he plans to use the pre-season to mould his new and old talent into a cohesive unit.

"It is good to get match practice but really it is more about what we are doing on the training pitch.

"We need to get the new guys understanding how we want to play and also for the guys who have been there a while just getting some improvement on what we are doing.

"We have a lot of improvement in us."

If the Northern Suburbs club improve on the last campaign they'll be every chance of winning the title.

After finishing runners-up for the second successive season in 2013, Bulli and coach Smith are setting the bar high for the new campaign.

"The club definitely wants to go one better and all the players do as well," Smith said.

Friday 

Crehan Park, Cringila

Port Kembla v Dapto Dandaloo, 6.45pm

Tarrawanna v Bulli, 8.15pm

Ian McLennan Park, Kembla Grange

Woonona v Bellambi, 6.00pm

South Coast United v Fernhill, 7.20pm

Wollongong Olympic v Wollongong Utd, 8.45pm

Sunday 

Wetherall Park, Primbee

South Coast Utd v Bulli, noon

Albion Park WE v Dapto Dandaloo, 1.30pm

Port Kembla v Cringila Lions, 3.00pm 

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