Kiama meet Figtree in AFL South Coast showdown

Battle: Figtree's Nick Stacey leads the race to the ball in Saturday's clash with the Bulldogs. Picture: Georgia Matts
Battle: Figtree's Nick Stacey leads the race to the ball in Saturday's clash with the Bulldogs. Picture: Georgia Matts

Kiama may be yet to win a flag since their dramatic resurgence, but they are the AFL South Coast benchmark, Figtree coach Will Ryan believes. 

The Power are within reach of a second successive minor premiership, having won 31 of their past 34 games.

Those three losses have all come at the hands of the Wollongong Lions, including in last year’s grand final. 

But last year’s duopoly has shifted to become a genuine top four battle this year, with the Wollongong Bulldogs and Figtree providing fierce competition.

“You look at the Kiama, they’re the benchmark club, the ones we aspire to be like,” Ryan said. “I mean, we play very different styles of footy, but in terms of what they’ve done the past couple of years and numbers and the talent they have, that’s where we want to be.”

Kiama won the reserve grade flag last year by 92 points and were one quarter away from making it a double, only to be swamped late by the Lions. This year Bomaderry and the Bulldogs reserve grade outfit are leading the charge towards the division two crown in the restructured format.

But any ground the Power have given in the reserves is offset by the way they’re building towards the finals in first grade.

Kiama brushed aside Northern Districts by 124 points last Saturday, spearhead Troy Cole kicking nine to take his tally to 54 for the season.

“Last year we started the season so well,” Kiama coach Rod Richards said after beating the Lions a fortnight ago.

“But we were a bit slower to get going this year, hopefully we’re starting to build at the right time.”

Cole’s haul presents a fascinating duel with Figtree’s Daniel Perger at Bonaira Oval on Saturday, after the Kangaroos finally broke through to beat one of the top three teams when they toppled the Bulldogs 17 points last weekend.

The Dogs will be determined to keep their hold on third spot when they take on Shellharbour on Saturday, while the Lions will be hoping to keep the heat on Kiama by beating Northern Districts at North Dalton Park.

Meanwhile, there will be a crucial AFL South Coast Women’s double-header at Dalton Park on Saturday, with unbeaten Bomaderry tackling the Saints and second-placed Lions taking Northern Districts.

AFL SOUTH COAST

Round 16

Saturday

Men

KIAMA v FIGTREE at Bonaira Oval (2pm)

WOLLONGONG BULLDOGS v SHELLHARBOUR at Keira Oval (2.30pm)

WOLLONGONG LIONS v NORTHERN DISTRICTS at North Dalton Park (3pm)

Women

WOLLONGONG SAINTS v BOMADERRY at North Dalton Park (10am)

WOLLONGONG LIONS v NORTHERN DISTRICTS at North Dalton Park (1.30pm)

WOLLONGONG BULLDOGS v DAPTO at Keira Oval (11.10am)

NOWRA-ALBATROSS v ULLADULLA at West Street Oval (12.30pm)

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