It’s a daunting task.
Certainly as tough as it comes in AFL South Coast
Wollongong Bulldogs will meet premiership front-runners the Lions and Kiama before finals – and that’s only the beginning.
They then must beat Figtree, the Lions and Kiama again to win the AFL South Coast flag.
But coach Lee Murray is adamant they’re up for the fight.
For the past two seasons, they’ve been cast aside as a premiership sideshow, while the Lions and Kiama forge a rivalry to match Sydney and West Coast in the AFL in the mid-2000s.
Prior to that, they’d been the big Dogs in the league, even denying the Lions a title the year they returned from the AFL Sydney competition.
But now they face their Wollongong arch-rivals desperately needing a shot of confidence they can beat them in a big final.
It was only last month when the Bulldogs almost toppled the premiers, a late smother in the goal square stopping a certain goal in a four-point loss.
“We just haven’t had the same 22 each week,” Murray said. “It’s been the issue all season. And the club’s always had to deal with the impact of Uni breaks and players away, but this year we’ve just lacked that cohesion from one week to the next.
“”We’ve just got to work on our effort and being in the right head space and the rest will hopefully fall into place.”
Meanwhile, the AFL South Coast women’s best-and-fairest medal, to be announced on September 9 at Kiama, will be named the Maddy Collier Medal.
A former Nowra and Bomaderry junior who played for the Wollongong Saints in the AFL Sydney competition, Collier spent two years with GWS in the AFL Women’s league and is now at Essendon.
AFL SOUTH COAST
WOLLONGONG BULLDOGS v WOLLONGONG LIONS at Keira Oval
FIGTREE v NORTHERN DISTRICTS at Figtree Oval
SHELLHARBOUR v KIAMA at Myimbarr Oval
DAPTO v KIAMA at Kully Bay Oval (10.30am)
WOLLONGONG BULLDOGS v WOLLONGONG LIONS at Keira Oval (10.40am)
NOWRA-ALBATROSS v BOMADERRY at West Street Oval (12.30pm)
ULLADULLA v NORTHERN DISTRICTS at Ulladulla Sports Park
WOLLONGONG SAINTS bye
AFL SYDNEY WOMEN
Division one, major semi-final: WOLLONGONG SAINTS v WESTERN MAGIC at Rosedale Park, Sydney