Dapto Dandaloo Fury win premier league title

Norm Boardman told anyone who cared to listen and his promise came true in the biggest game of the season: strikers Chris Smith and Brad Boardman would be unstoppable when on the same wavelength.

 The Dapto Dandaloo team celebrate after their 3-1 victory over Bulli in the Illawarra Premier League grand final at Crehan Park, Cringila, on Saturday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

The Dapto Dandaloo team celebrate after their 3-1 victory over Bulli in the Illawarra Premier League grand final at Crehan Park, Cringila, on Saturday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

It would be naive to suggest they hadn't already done so on occasions earlier this campaign, but perhaps their most devastating display was just the tonic for Dapto Dandaloo to beat Bulli at their fourth time of asking in 2012.

That it was the Illawarra Premier League grand final was all the sweeter for the Fury, who finished a treble-winning season with only the Bert Bampton Cup absent from the trophy cabinet.

Despite briefly looking vulnerable to a trademark Bulli come-from-behind win, Dapto Dandaloo's old guard stood firm after first-half strikes from Smith and Boardman paved the way for a 3-1 win at Crehan Park on Saturday evening.

"I just think they're the best striking combination in the competition," Boardman snr said. "We've got two things, with Boardo [Boardman] who's big, strong and holds the ball up while Smudge [Smith] gets in behind. At the end of the day they're good for each other."

Which is exactly what Fury supporters would have been thinking after 23 minutes. Having jinked his way behind the Bulli defence, Boardman fed Smith who expertly sidefooted into the bottom corner past an outstretched Bryce Daenell.

If a one-goal deficit against a group of players, most of whom were shooting for a fourth straight grand final win, wasn't daunting enough then the task became a whole lot harder for Bulli on the stroke of half-time. Daenell could only parry a Sam Matthews header from close range, which fell invitingly for Boardman who stabbed home for his third goal in the last two finals matches.

"It does hurt 2-0 down [at half-time]," Bulli coach Ben Smith said. "We have sort of been there before so we weren't too worried about that.

"We were more worried the performance wasn't what we wanted it to be, but in saying that we were playing against a very good team. They make it difficult as well."

The inevitable onslaught from a spritely Bulli came, but only after Scott Chipperfield medallist Sam Munro was the width of a goalpost away from stretching the Fury lead to 3-0.

Pat Morales pulled a goal back when rifling home from 16 metres through a crowded penalty area and Ben McDonald should have squared the ledger when spurning a gilt-edged chance from five metres with the goal gaping and Fury shot-stopper Michael Takacs nowhere to be seen.

Said Smith: "The club has been fantastic allowing the young players to do well. Benny McDonald has been a big part of that.

"We're only here in the grand final because of players like Benny and he's scored a lot of critical goals for us."

Desperately throwing men forward in a bid to send the match into extra time, Bulli's rearguard was exposed when David Reid robbed fellow substitute Dane Hamilton of possession and slotted past Daenell in the shadows of full time.

"We wanted to start well and we knew they thought the longer the game went on the better they would get," Boardman said. "We didn't lose our shape and kept our discipline. The boys were superb in doing their jobs, which is probably something we haven't done all year at different times. They've got to take a bow for this - the whole thing is pretty much about them."

Any regrets on not winning the Bert Bampton Cup?

"We were close," Boardman said. "But we were not close enough."


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