Any shred of the notion ‘‘it’s only pre-season’’ will be forgotten when Wollongong Olympic meet Bulli in the Fraternity Club Cup final this Wednesday.
The pre-season decider may not be held in as high esteem as the end of year crown but silverware never goes unappreciated at any club.
In recent years, Olympic and Bulli know that better than most.
Olympic haven’t lifted a top-grade trophy in over a decade while Bulli are the perennial bridesmaids of Illawarra football after second-placed finishes in both of the last two seasons.
While Memorial Park won’t have the same atmosphere as last season’s Illawarra Premier League final at WIN Stadium, Bulli coach Ben Smith was adamant that his side would adopt a similar approach.
‘‘We always go into every game to win so this would be a great start to season,’’ Smith said.
‘‘The main thing going into this game is improving all the time because the season is upon us in two weeks.’’
Bulli won through to the final with a 1-0 win over Port Kembla, getting a slice of revenge on the Zebras in the process.
After achieving a valuable cleansheet in that semi-final clash, Smith believes his defence will need to remain on high alert against another attacking powerhouse.
‘‘I know they have got a lot of strikepower up front so I expect them to deliver the ball fairly quickly to their forward line,’’ he said.
‘‘Traditionally they are a big strong side with that firepower up front so I expect a pretty tough game.’’
Down 2-0 in their semi-final, Wayne Farnsworth’s Olympic battled back to win 5-4 in a penalty shootout against Tarrawanna after the scores were tied 2-2 at full-time.
But while Farnsworth was disappointed with aspects of their display then, he was optimistic of a turnaround in the final.
‘‘The positive thing is we come off a performance like that so we can only improve,’’ he said.
‘‘We are certainly nowhere near where we want to be but I am delighted to be in the final.
‘‘We are looking forward to it. Any final is good to be in,’’ Farnsworth said.