Kiama coach Rod Richards has endorsed the contentious new top-six format, as the Power face a premiership acid test in the next fortnight.
Last year’s grand finalists meet Wollongong Bulldogs at Keira Oval on Saturday, then premiers the Lions at North Dalton Park next week.
And while the reaction to the new three-tiered competition has been mixed among clubs, Richards has welcomed the demanding contests the Power will face in the lead-up to finals.
“It’s tough and physical and that’s what you want,” he said. “The top four is red hot right now, it’s the closest it’s been in years.
“I understand it’s not always easy when your firsts and reserves aren’t at the same ground, but the league had to do something about the one-sided results.
“The league deserves credit for coming up with a format which offers close games every week.”
Gauging the mood in recent weeks, the AFL South Coast coaches have offered varied opinions about the support for the format, which saw the competition broken up into three top-six divisions after nine rounds.
Having a seven-team competition and two grades, which includes Bomaderry, was one solution offered, while others remain unhappy about their two grades being separated on game day.
Beaten in the grand final after leading the competition throughout last season, Richards believes the Power are well-placed this year.
“We’re building nicely, I’m quite happy with how we’re ticking along,” he said.
“We’ll learn a fair bit in the next couple of weeks, but these are the tests you look forward to.”
Elsewhere, the Wollongong Saints can cement their place on top of the AFL Sydney women’s division one by beating Manly, with their closes rivals East Coast Eagles and Pennant Hills facing off in Sydney.
AFL SOUTH COAST
Men: WOLLONGONG BULLDOGS v KIAMA at Keira Oval, FIGTREE v WOLLONGONG LIONS at Figtree Oval, SHELLHARBOUR v NORTHERN DISTRICTS at Myimbarr Oval. Women: WOLLONGONG BULLDOGS v KIAMA at Keira Oval (10.40am), WOLLONGONG SAINTS v ULLADULLA at North Dalton Park (11.30am), BOMADERRY v NORTHERN DISTRICTS at Artie Smith Oval, NOWRA-ALBATROSS v WOLLONGONG LIONS at Tom Smith Oval (12.30pm).
Women’s division one: WOLLONGONG SAINTS v MANLY-WARRINGAH at North Dalton Park