Bulldogs clinch South Coast AFL minor premiership


They would trade it for a win in Saturday's grand final qualifier but Wollongong Bulldogs clinched the South Coast AFL minor premiership in style with a six-goal victory over arch-rivals Kiama at Bonaira Oval.

The clubs were separated only by percentage heading into the final round but the Bulldogs made it a home-and-away double over the Power with a 13.12 (90) to 8.8 (56) victory.

Wollongong led by just seven points at half-time and booted nine goals to five in the second half, though both clubs know the real test is in Saturday's major semi-final.

The minor premiership has proved a curse with the top-placed side not winning the flag since Kiama completed the double in 2009.

Kiama and Wollongong have played off in the last three grand finals but each year the minor premiers have lost the grand final, with Wollongong hoping to buck the trend in chasing a third straight title.

"The minor premiership wasn't a goal of ours but all you can do is play what is in front of you and go out there and win and we did that," Wollongong coach Lee Murray said. "We've little areas to polish up and we can certainly improve, but you can't be disappointed to beat Kiama."

But Murray says the Power left some of their best in the locker room, ready to unleash in the major semi.

"They had a few guys playing in different positions and looked to be trying a few things, so there's no doubt they'll be a better side next week.

"But we can certainly improve in a few areas, so I expect both teams to be stronger."

Murray was rapt with the intensity of his side and they won more of the contested ball with midfielder Hayden Dore and ruckman Cameron Bailey the standouts.

Meanwhile, Shellharbour forward Brendan White booted seven goals in the 123-point home thrashing of Albatross to finish as the competition's top goalkicker.

White booted 50 goals for the season, while teammate Troy Cole kicked eight goals against Albatross in the 22.9 (141) to 2.6 (18) victory.

Shellharbour finished with eight wins and fifth spot in an excellent season under coach Andy Wilton.

Nowra claimed their fourth victory of the year and upset Figtree 15.12 (102) to 6.7 (43) at West Street Oval.

Finally, Mark O'Rourke booted eight goals as Northern Districts tuned up for the elimination semi-final against Bomaderry with a 20.17 (137) to 5.10 (40) victory over Port Kembla.

Norths are serious premiership contenders, having beaten Wollongong and Kiama and finished equal second with the Power and third on percentage.

Meanwhile, the Illawarra Lions' clash against Uni of NSW at Village Green was washed out on Sunday.


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