Woonona Sharks seek perfect result in milestone clash

Bellambi coach Greg Smart and Woonona Sharks counterpart Rob Bemi at Ocean Park. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI
Bellambi coach Greg Smart and Woonona Sharks counterpart Rob Bemi at Ocean Park. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI


Woonona Sharks celebrate their 125th anniversary at Ocean Park against old rivals Bellambi on Saturday.

The Sharks are the Illawarra's second oldest club behind Balgownie Rangers.

They moved back into the top-flight last season and are now enjoying one of their best campaigns in recent memory.

Under the guidance of coach Rob Bemi, Woonona sit third on the ladder.

A 30-year veteran at the Sharks, Bemi started his playing career at Woonona as a junior before moving into the representative ranks in the Illawarra. He returned at the turn of the century and worked his way into the head coaching role to lead the Sharks in their milestone season.

"It is a proud moment to coach a team in Premier League at any time but I was lucky enough that they gave me the opportunity to do it when [the anniversary] came along. It means a good deal to me," Bemi said.

Bemi's rival in the dugouts on Saturday - Bellambi's Greg Smart - also moved through the Sharks coaching ranks before jumping ship to the Rosellas.

Despite spending 16 years at Ocean Park, Smart will have no chance to get nostalgic on Saturday.

His Rosellas sit bottom of the Premier League and are in desperate need of a boost.

"'It would be good to upset the celebrations and get our season under way. All our guys are up for it," Smart said.

"We have been brave so far but the thing we have been lacking is that killer punch in front of goal."

Bemi is certain the Rosellas won't allow Woonona to have it all their own way.

"They are always up for the local derby. If you don't turn up you will get punished," Bemi said.

Woonona officials welcome any former players, officials or fans to help celebrate the occasion and gave their best wishes to club greats Ricki Organ, David Horrell and Charlie Stewart.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Wollongong United host Port Kembla, Wollongong Olympic meet Dapto Dandaloo and Bulli travel south to Albion Park.

On Sunday, Fernhill will attempt to pick up valuable away points at South Coast United.


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