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


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.



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



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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