Bulli cast aside bridesmaid tag

Bulli team members celebrate their Illawarra Premier League title, beating Albion Park 2-0. Picture: Andrew Linturn / fotosportz
Bulli team members celebrate their Illawarra Premier League title, beating Albion Park 2-0. Picture: Andrew Linturn / fotosportz


Perennial bridesmaids no longer, Bulli finally ended their 26-year title drought on Saturday with a scrappy 2-0 win over Albion Park at Balls Paddock.

Two first half goals guided the 2012 and 2013 runners-up to the title-sealing triumph which sees them claim the League Championship crown in front of Dapto Dandaloo Fury.

It ends a drought which dates back to 1988.

"It is a bit more of a relief after the two previous years being so close," coach Ben Smith said.

"It is a relief for everyone at the club. Being so close is quite agonising so it is fantastic for everybody involved."

Bulli's chances of lifting the silverware rarely looked in doubt, with a goal difference buffer of 14 on the Fury heading into the clash and all the early chances in Saturday's stoush.

After having the better of the opportunities in the opening exchanges, Hayden Mowbray finally got the break through for Bulli in the 24th minute when his effort from inside the 18-yard box took a deflection into the White Eagles' goal.

Smith's men continued to pepper the White Eagles' defence and eventually doubled their advantage before the break.

Scott Curran went on a delicate run on the edge of the box before placing an optimistic attempt from a wide angle into the top corner to quash any doubts around Balls Paddock.

"You just never know. You are still nervous before the game," Smith said.

"It was still mathematically possible for the result to go against us. You'd think it would be impossible but you just never know.

"To get the win, it is very pleasing and to finish the season off well to make it impossible to be caught."

Bulli had countless opportunities to add to their tally in the second half but were somewhat wasteful in front of goal. Leading goal scorer Ben McDonald had three gilt-edged chances to add to his healthy tally of 16 but was unable to find the strike needed.

Curran also found the crossbar in the second half, yet Bulli were still able to add another victory to finish the season with 17 wins, two draws and three losses.

"Our really good performances were great and our poor performances weren't too different from the high," Smith said.

"There wasn't too much deviation from the highs and lows, which was good. Therefore you are consistent and you have a good chance every week if you can do that."

Bulli will now take the first week of the finals off before taking on the winner of Wollongong United and the Fury's match next Sunday.

"We will take this week a bit tougher on the training pitch physically and next week taper off a bit," Smith said.


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