Wollongong Bulldogs meet Lions in AFL South Coast clash

Rise: Bentley Murphy jumps for a mark against Shellharbour earlier this season. Picture: Adam McLean

Rise: Bentley Murphy jumps for a mark against Shellharbour earlier this season. Picture: Adam McLean

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

Round 18

Men

Saturday (2pm)

WOLLONGONG BULLDOGS v WOLLONGONG LIONS at Keira Oval

FIGTREE v NORTHERN DISTRICTS at Figtree Oval

SHELLHARBOUR v KIAMA at Myimbarr Oval

Women

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