Underdogs Wests Illawarra upbeat for Bampton Cup youth final


They'll go into this weekend's decider with Bulli as supreme underdogs, but Wests Illawarra's against-the-odds journey to the Bert Bampton Cup youth final means they won't be foreign to the feeling.

The District League club have battled since the opening round and have had to overcome three Premier League opponents in their quest for Cup glory.

Wests beat Bellambi 3-2 in their semi-final a fortnight ago after sneaking past Woonona (2-1) and Wollongong Olympic (1-0) in the early rounds.

But Sunday's match against Bulli is by far the biggest test Arthur Kinnas's boys have faced, with the Northern Suburbs club leading the Illawarra Premier League youth grade competition by 10 points.

Bulli sealed their spot in the final with an easy 3-0 win over Fernhill in their semi-final last Wednesday and Kinnas, coached by Bulli's John Cropper in his playing days at Wollongong Olympic, expects his side will face a stern test to claim the silverware.

"I know he has got a good bunch of boys with a very strong team. That is why they are top of the Premier League," the coach said.

"They are very technical. It will be a very good test."

Kinnas will be calling on the same determination that has seen his side score an unlikely visit to the decider.

"They have been hungry to show the other people out there what they can do," he said.

"This is my second year doing it, last year we won the competition, and every year you can tell they just get hungrier.

"They are a good bunch of boys."

Sunday's final will be played in the early time slot of 10.45am at John Crehan Park.


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