After last week’s lop-sided results, AFL South Coast suffered another major blow when Port Kembla forfeited to premiers Wollongong Lions on Saturday.
The Mercury understands Port made the call on Thursday night to pull out of the game, after a lack of numbers at training, as they struggle to make the adjustment to playing in the top grade, at least until the new structure splits into three tiers after three more rounds.
Port had opened the season with a win over Nowra-Albatross, but were thrashed by 189 points by Shellharbour last weekend, one of four one-sided games in the league.
The decision to pull out of Saturday’s game came as Kiama and Figtree recorded important victories.
The Power declared they will again be the Lions biggest rivals, kicking six third-quarter goals to set the platform for a 11.15 (81) to 6.6 (42) victory over Wollongong Bulldogs.
Josh Krull and Ben Williams kicked three each for Kiama, as Ben Rawson and Ben Hoctor were among their best. It moves the Power a game clear of the Dogs in second spot.
Figtree are now outright fourth, kicking four goals in the final term to come from 11 points behind to beat Shellharbour 9.8 (82) to 8.5 (53) at Myimbarr Oval.
Daniel Perger kicked six goals for the Roos, who have all-but ensured they’ll play in the top-six tier when the competition splits.
Elsewhere, Northern Districts took another important step in their rebuild, beating Nowra-Albatross by 80 points.