ILLAWARRA PREMIER LEAGUE
He might win a place only on the bench, but it sure beats sitting in another seat far removed from the grand final furnace.
Resigned to the fact his season was over after seeing red in Dapto Dandaloo's final regular season match, Matt Radman will be thrown a lifeline for the Illawarra Premier League decider.
Having served a two-game ban for his first-half dismissal against Cringila, Radman is in line to win a place in Norm Boardman's Fury squad for the IPL Grand Final showdown with Bulli.
But it was only possible after Dapto Dandaloo's slip-up against Bulli in the major semi-final, forcing the Fury to topple Port Kembla last weekend to punch their ticket to Crehan Park.
The second match of Radman's suspension would have been the grand final if the league champions had won straight through to Football South Coast's showpiece day.
"It was a bittersweet feeling against Bulli," Radman said.
"It was disappointing to lose the game, but I suppose on a personal level it gave me an opportunity if the boys came through with the result against Port Kembla."
Not only did they come through in the preliminary final, but they also managed to fight tooth and nail for almost an hour without Radman to secure the league title on a dramatic final day.
"I thought my season was over there and then when I got sent off," Radman said. "The way things turned I'll hopefully get another chance.
"I was disappointed for the boys. They put in a massive effort during a tough game and Bulli did extremely well.
"In 2008 I had a knee reconstruction while I was playing for Port Kembla then and I watched the boys play against Albion Park [in the grand final] and we went down.
"I was hoping if I was to watch [this year] it would be a better result."
Whatever his involvement, Radman will head into Saturday's clash "excited" to play in his third straight grand final with three different clubs.
A member of the Port Kembla side which pinched the league title off Dandaloo on the last day in 2010, Radman endured heartache only weeks later when the Lions exacted revenge on the black and whites in the grand final.
The defender then crossed the divide to join Dandaloo for their all-conquering 2011 season before helping fledgling club Dapto Dandaloo to this year's decider.
Noel Spencer has retreated into Radman's role in the heart of the Fury defence for the last two matches, giving Boardman an ever-reliable option alongside skipper Alvin Ceccoli.
Radman said his side was nonplussed about their ability to trouble Bulli this season.
"They've definitely been a team that's given us a few problems this year," he said.
"But I suppose that's a bit more motivation for us boys to work even harder during the week knowing we haven't beaten them this year," he said.