REVIEW: AFL South Coast Round 9

Northern Districts Player Thomas Strong gathers the footy at Hollymount Park on Saturday. Picture: Sylvia Liber - Illawarra Mercury


The AFL South Coast senior competitions have now reached the halfway mark of the season and it was a captivating final round before the competitions splits from two men’s divisions into three for the second half of the season.

Leading into the weekend, Wollongong Lions, Kiama Power, Wollongong Bulldogs and Figtree Kangaroo’s had already secured their place in the top division for the second half of the season however the final two spots had three sides (Bomaderry Tigers, Shellharbour City Suns and Northern Districts Tigers) desperately fighting to join them. Shellharbour were the first team to secure their place in the top flight on Saturday with a big win over the winless Nowra Albatross Vikings which left Bomaderry and Northern Districts to rely on each other’s results to claim the last spot. Northern Districts held a sizeable percentage lead over Bomaderry leading into the round however a big 91 point win by Bomaderry over Port Kembla saw them draw level on points and improve their percentage to 66.47% however 27 behinds from Bomaderry meant it could have been much higher. Playing simultaneously on the other side of the city at Hollymount Oval, Northern Districts went into their match as big underdogs against the Wollongong Bulldogs but knew that if they could get within a few goals they were an outside chance to hold their place in the top 6. After conceding four goals in the opening quarter while not scoring any themselves things didn’t look great however the Tigers matched the Bulldogs for the remainder of the match to go down by 24 points.

Some frantic calculations took place after the final siren to see which side would take their place in the top division and in the end the Tigers of the Northern Districts variety claimed the sixth and final position in Division One by a meagre 1.33%! It wasn’t the flip of a coin that was used to decide the final positions of the 1975 ladder when Port Kembla and Wollongong Lions couldn’t be split on percentage, but it was as close a margin as we have seen in recent years which now sees Bomaderry play in Division Two.

The fixtures for the new three division model are currently being finalised with an expected release date being Friday 8th June however the makeup of each of the Men’s divisions has been confirmed as following:

Division One                     Division Two Division Three
Figtree Kangaroos (1) Bomaderry Tigers (1) Bomaderry Tigers (2)
Kiama Power (1) Kiama Power (2) Dapto City Stallions (1)
Northern Districts Tigers (1) Nowra Albatross Vikings (1) Figtree Kangaroos (2)
Shellharbour City Suns (1) Port Kembla Blacks (1) Northern Districts Tigers (2)
Wollongong Bulldogs (1) Wollongong Bulldogs (2) Shellharbour City Suns (2)
Wollongong Lions (1) Wollongong Lions (2) Ulladulla Dockers (1)

The Division One ladder will continue on from the start of the season (where the Lions sit undefeated in front of Kiama and the Bulldogs) however the Division Two and Three ladders will be reset. Each team will now play the five other teams in their division twice each (one at home and one away) with the top four after these 10 rounds qualifying for finals.

AFLSCW Competition

Meanwhile, the inaugural AFLSCW (Women’s) competition has been a real highlight for the region in 2018 with some excellent football played and a great match day environment. The numbers for each team continues to grow which is exciting for the remainder of this season but also 2019 and beyond. Bomaderry have surprised many and sit in first position with just the one loss after nine rounds with the Wollongong Lions also having only lost the one match. Kiama, Wollongong Saints and Ulladulla round out the top five however there are seven teams all still right in the mix for finals.

They both may be winless, but last weekend saw Dapto City Unicorns and Nowra Albatross Vikings play out the first ever draw in the women’s competitions with the two sides unable to be split at Myimbarr Oval.

A highlight of the AFLSCW in the second half of the season will be the ‘local derby’ between the Wollongong Lions and Wollongong Saints at North Dalton Park on Saturday 7th July which will follow the Sydney Swans v GWS GIANTS match at the same venue. More details on this fantastic event for the region will be released in the coming weeks.

The second half of the women’s competition will see all sides play against each other one more time over nine rounds before the top five finalists are settled and we crown our inaugural AFLSCW Premiers.

Upcoming Key Dates:

16th June – All competitions resume

7th July – Sydney Swans v GWS GIANTS NEAFL match at North Dalton Park

9th September – Tunbridge Medal Night

22nd September – 4 x AFL South Coast Senior Grand Finals (Men’s Division One – Three and Women’s) at North Dalton Park