Unbeaten records put out of mind


Two minor premiers will be carrying the weight of undefeated seasons when the Illawarra Coal Shield and Women in the Army Illawarra league finals kick off on Saturday.

Shield minor premiers Norths will head into their major semi-final with Corrimal at Ziems Park with a 15-0 record, while Helensburgh women carry a 12-0 ledger into their match with Port Kembla at Rex Jackson Oval.

Norths captain Ellis Hurworth said the Bulldogs had put the expectation aside ahead of their match with defending premiers Corrimal, who beat them in last year's grand final.

"We choose to ignore it. It pops up from time to time but at the end of the day semi-final football is a different kettle of fish and we've really got to put this year behind us and just concentrate on the next few weeks," he said.

Corrimal have come up empty on three occasions against Norths this year but captain Jye Sommers is confident they can earn their first win over the Bulldogs in the pressure-cooker of finals football.

"At the start of the year we spoke, Ellis and I, and I said they were probably the team to beat and they've definitely proved that," Sommers said.

"But I think all the games, bar one, have been really good contests and I think this weekend will be no different."

Helensburgh will be unbackable favourites even without regular skipper and Jillaroos star Sam Hammond - who suffered a knee injury playing for NSW in the women's Origin clash - with NSW reps Maddi Studdon and Kezie Apps spearheading their charge.

Port Kembla star Brittany Constable could prove the biggest stumbling block for the Tigers in their quest for a fourth successive title but she said the whole team had to lift.

"Hopefully I can [lift] and some of the other girls will as well. We're going to need to come out really strong and start well."

Both matches are the main course of a double-header, with Avondale and Mount Kembla in the shield minor semi at Ziems Park, while Corrimal and Berkeley clash at Rex Jackson Oval.