Kemblawarra Fury and Bulli are experienced campaigners in the battle for the League Championship, but Wollongong Olympic remain as somewhat of a wildcard of the 2017 title race.
While the Fury and Bulli know all too well what it takes to lift the trophy – finishing first and second in four of the past five years – Olympic’s experience in the race for the regular season crown is limited in recent times.
It remains to be seen how they will deal with the pressure of the final six weeks of the season as all three clubs look to claim the title in what is shaping as a tense run to the line.
Olympic trail leaders Bulli by just one point, with Kemblawarra three points off the top. With pressure starting to build, Olympic coach Rob Birkin says his team plans to approach the final six games no different to the rest of their already strong campaign.
“We’ve set team, group and individuals goals and right now we are go along the path to where we need to be,” he said.
“They guys know where they need to be. Nothing changes for us in the run home, we just have to hit those targets.”
Olympic face one of their biggest tests of their run home when they host Tarrawanna at PCYC on Saturday afternoon. The Blueys inflicted Olympic’s first loss of the season in round five, but Birkin was hopeful his squad could reverse that result.
“From our stand point, patience is going to be key,” he said.
“If everything doesn’t happen in a hurry. We have got 90 minutes to get the job done rather than nine minutes.
“We are looking forward to it because they got us in the first round, then we beat them in the Cup. They set up sound and I think the key to them is their offence because they go forward in numbers.”
Olympic have recently added former German and Spanish lower league talent Hayato Yakumaru to their arsenal of dangerous Japanese players.
He is likely to play a part against the Blueys.
“He is still finding his feet after playing a lot of his recent football on synthetic pitches, but the pedigree is definitely there,” Birkin said.
“We will persist with him and help him along. He certainly adds some depth to the squad and it is always good to have another weapon around this time of year.”
Both of Olympic’s title rivals are faced with substantially easier games over the weekend.
Bulli host cellar-dwellers Picton Rangers at Balls Paddock while Kemblawarra Fury meet Woonona at Macedonia Park. Elsewhere, Cringila host Wollongong United, Albion Park travel to Corrimal and South Coast United play Port Kembla.