Illawarra Lions face moment of truth in drive to Sydney AFL finals

AUSSIE RULES

Illawarra Lions coach Dave Nolen.

Illawarra Lions coach Dave Nolen.

The Illawarra Lions will have their strongest line-up for Saturday's critical Sydney AFL clash against Southern Power at North Dalton Park.

The Lions (3-6) are a win behind equal-fifth placed Power (4-5) and realistically must win to keep alive their top five finals hopes.

Illawarra tried hard against co-leaders Pennant Hills last Saturday, but managed just two goals for the game in a 48-point loss.

Injuries and Wollongong University exams have taken a toll but Lions player-coach Dave Nolen says the tide is turning.

"The effort has been there and with a few players back we can still push towards the finals," Nolen said.

Southern Power are coming off a 48-point loss to Balmain, who with Pennant Hills lead the competition at the halfway mark.

The Lions do have a run of winnable games and host bottom side St George in round 11, before a third straight home game against UTS Bats on Sunday July 7, in a big day for local AFL with the Sydney Swans Reserves also playing at North Dalton Park.

Meanwhile, Shellharbour will be expected to provide a stern test to premiership contenders Northern Districts in Saturday's standout clash in South Coast AFL Seniors at Jock Brown Oval.

The Suns pushed leaders Wollongong last Saturday to just a two-goal defeat, with Norths coming off a rugged 13-point loss to leaders Kiama.

In other round 11 matches, Bomaderry host Port Kembla, Kiama host Figtree and Albatross are at home to Wollongong.

South Coast ladder: Kiama 16, Wollongong 14, Bomaderry 12, Northern Districts 12, Figtree 8, Port Kembla 6, Shellharbour City 6, Nowra 4, Albatross 0.

SYDNEY AFL

SATURDAY

Illawarra Lions v Southern Power, North Dalton Park (4pm)

SOUTH COAST AFL

SATURDAY

Bomaderry v Port Kembla, Artie Smith Oval (2.10pm)

Kiama v Figtree, Bonaira Oval (2.10pm)

Shellharbour City v Northern Districts, Jock Brown Oval (2.10pm)

Albatross v Wollongong, Tom Smith Oval (2.30pm)

Bye: Nowra

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