Northern Districts Tigers chasing first South Coast AFL flag in 30 years

Northern Districts coach Leigh Forsyth and Wollongong coach Lee Murray hold the premiership trophy up for grabs in the grand final. Picture: SHAREN BALAZIC

Northern Districts coach Leigh Forsyth and Wollongong coach Lee Murray hold the premiership trophy up for grabs in the grand final. Picture: SHAREN BALAZIC

AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL

Premiers Wollongong Bulldogs remain on alert as Northern Districts chase a first premiership in 30 years in Saturday's South Coast AFL grand final at North Dalton Park.

The Tigers outlasted Kiama in an extra-time preliminary final to reach the first grade final and look to claim a first premiership since 1984.

Minor premiers Wollongong, by contrast, are into a fifth consecutive grand final and on the verge of a third straight flag.

The Bulldogs are rested after a week off but coach Lee Murray is wary of the Tigers' momentum from eight straight wins.

"It's a great story, it would make a great movie with a first flag in 30 years but we aim to hit the stop button," Murray said.

"I always thought we'd face Norths if we got into the grand final. They have been under the radar but not in our view.

"They were hard at it and tough against Kiama and it was just as I expected but we'll be ready.

"You can't take a grand final for granted and with a turnover of nearly half the team from last year, there's plenty of hunger."

Norths have lost only three times all season.

They have been taken to the limit by Bomaderry and Kiama but coach Leigh Forsyth says there is still more Tiger in the tank.

"Mentally we're fine and I guess physically we'll see what we have but I think we'll be OK," Forsyth said.

"We've had a light week, a swim session on Tuesday and the players are up and about.

"This is as tough and galvanised a group as I've been a part of and we aim to hit 'em hard and hit them early and give it all we've got."

Though minor premiers Wollongong are rested and are the benchmark side, recent history doesn't favour the season's top team.

No minor premiers since Kiama in 2009 have won the flag, and having the week off didn't help Kiama last year, with the Power overrun in the final quarter by a rampant Bulldogs outfit.

Meanwhile, Wollongong play their sixth grand final in seven years in reserve grade, facing minor premiers Ulladulla Dockers.

The reserve grade grand final is from 12pm, with first grade at 2.30pm.

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