Dangerous Ueda the man to stop

STAR POWER: Olympic striker Yusuke Ueda will be the main danger for Wollongong United in this weeknd's preliminary final. Picture: Robert Peet
STAR POWER: Olympic striker Yusuke Ueda will be the main danger for Wollongong United in this weeknd's preliminary final. Picture: Robert Peet

He’s terrorised defences all season long, but Wollongong Olympic star Yuseke Ueda is set to have a target on his back come Sunday afternoon.

Opposing coach Jeff Allport has unsurprisingly put the red-hot Japanese striker in Wollongong United’s cross-hairs ahead of their massive preliminary final against Olympic at Memorial Park. 

Ueda has produced one of the best attacking performances in recent memory throughout this Illawarra Premier League season. 

His astonishing tally of 31 goals in 22 regular season appearances set the benchmark in the top competition.

The attacking maestro has since followed up the performance with two standout displays in the post-season – tallying another five goals in two games –  heading into Olympic’s knockout showdown with United.

"You can't not admit he is the danger. He is banging in goals for fun," Allport said.

"Obviously they have other threats, but he is the guy you absolutely have to stop.

"Having Mark Every back is a huge in for us. The boys that covered [Every] last week did really well, but him coming in will be particularly important because of a guy like Ueda."

While Olympic coach George Antoniou preferred not to focus too much on his talisman in the lead-up, he was rapt to see his classy frontman carry his form into the post-season. 

"He has been scoring goals at an important time of year, but you can't single out one man. All the boys have contributed in attack," he said. 

Ueda scored twice last weekend in Olympic’s heart-stopping 3-2 loss to title favourites Bulli, who are now in the grand final. 

It came as Wollongong United continued their impressive post-season form with a dominant 3-0 win over Albion Park, ending the White Eagles’ season. 

"They have obviously hit some form," Antoniou said.

"I think on their day they are as dangerous as anyone in the competition.

"Sunday will be no different to what it has been the past couple of weeks. We have to be at our best again."

United have already survived to elimination games in the post-season after knocking out last year’s grand final winners Port Kembla a fortnight ago. 

Confidence has been building at Macedonia Park that they can achieve something special this final series.

"We're in good spirits. It can't come quick enough really," Allport said.

"Them and Bulli are clearly the two best teams in the competition when you look at the season, but I think we got better each time we played Olympic in three games this season.

"The last time we played them we did quite well in a 0-0, but this is the time to do it.

"The boys know it's the same as it has been the last couple of weeks and we want to carry some momentum in."

Meanwhile, Coniston and Bellambi are set to do battle in the District League preliminary final for the right to meet Warilla Wanderers in the decider.