The season is underway and the Bulli hoodoo of choking when it matters has lifted. Bulli FC as Premiers and Grand Final Champions are favourites to take out this year’s title. However, all the other teams will be looking to take a scalp when they meet the double champions in 2019.
Can Bulli FC make it a back-to-back double?
The Fraternity Cup is won by Corrimal Rangers 3-1 in a convincing manner making them favorites as title chasers. Whilst preseason is often an unreliable indicator over the entire IPL season, the impressive display by Rangers shows they will be serious title contenders.
Bulli FC have changed their squad losing a number of players over the offseason. This weekend’s game against Corrimal Rangers will show whether Bulli still have enough squad depth to hold onto the title.
Rangers have strengthened their side with experienced defender Alvin Ceccoli- his knowledge of tactics and defensive prowess make him a valuable addition to their squad.
Round 1 The Fun Begins
High optimism in the Blueys camp as they take on South Coast United who struggled last year to avoid relegation.
New rules now allow clubs to display their cultural heritage. A group of SCU fans fly the flag as they take on the Blueys at Tarrawanna.
The Blueys dominate the game from the start apart from the odd but very dangerous incursions by South Coast United.
Quality goalkeeping and solid defence keeps SCU in the game as the Blueys gradually gain control of the midfield.
In the 41′ Cody Wally gets behind the SCU defence and shoots. A desperate lunge by Greg Valic to block the ball manages only to deflect it passed Bleakley.
SCU in the second half break up the rhythm and tempo of the game with a few feisty tackles hoping to pinch a goal on the counter.
Tight marking keep SCU in the game as Blueys raids are repelled.
Blueys supporters go home satisfied with all three points.
In the end it is the Blueys who come out on top.
Tarrawanna Blueys 1 South Coast United 0
The Sunday game is between Port Kembla and Albion Park White Eagles. White Eagles will be looking to put their previous loss in the Fraternity Cup behind them and start off with a win for the new season. For Port, last season was difficult and disappointing.
Hot and humid conditions greet the players. Port are immediately on the attack and are unlucky not to score in the first few minutes.
The early Port pressure is rewarded with a goal.
It is new recruit from Tarrawanna, Brad Acev who scores 13′ in to put Port ahead after a sustained dominant opening to the game.
Port is able to hold off the threat and win the game convincingly and all three points. It was always going to be difficult chasing the game in the heat for the White Eagles.
Port Kembla 1 White Eagles 0
Round 2 Neighbourly Love
Woonona Sharks take on their arch rivals and neighbours Bulli FC. This will be the opening game for Bulli as their scheduled opening match against the Rangers was washed out. Woonona narrowly avoided relegation last year and are hoping to survive and remain in the IPL.
The ground is heavy and a strong Southwesterly winds howls across the pitch and will make conditions difficult for both teams. The Sharks are hoping this may level the playing field.
The Sharks put up strong resistance and go to the break one down but still positive they can sneak a goal or two in the 2nd Half.
Bulli gain supremacy in all the one-to-one battles and dominate both possession and territory.
The heads drop but Woonona keep struggling as Bulli go for the jugular with their tails flying in the breeze.
Bulli get a 3rd through Kyle Hazelbrook and go into cruise control. Brendan Pattman makes it 4-0 with his brace.
Woonona Sharks 0 Bulli FC 4
Rangers are at home and flying high after their Fraternity Cup victory take on Port Kembla who ground out an impressive win over the White Eagles in Round 1.
Port are immediately off the blocks and score just as the crowd are taking their seats with their vino.
Rangers pulls one back through a Luke Boersma OG in 86′
Corrimal 1 Port Kembla 2
Rangers are next away to Bulli FC on Wednesday night in the Round 1 match that was washed out last weekend. This game will be an important litmus test for both clubs to indicate how competitive they will be in the new season. Will it be blue or red or green?
Bulli FC v Corrimal Rangers Round 1
Rangers switch flanks as Elia is met with well-timed Takahashi tackle
The early pressure has paid off and Rangers go into the lead.
The second half begins with both sides in a testy mood.
Bulli FC are a man down and chasing the game. It seems as though Rangers are about to take an important 3 points homes.
Zucco, Rangers big signing this year from Port is given marching orders for another foul. Four minutes of added time as Bulli make one last ditched attempt to get a point.
Bulli FC stay in touching distance of the top the table and Rangers earn their first point.
Bulli FC 1 Corrimal Rangers 1
Round 3: The Battle at the Bottom Begins in Earnest
The Fernhill Foxes take on the Tarrawanna Blueys. The Foxes have only one point and are likely to be involved in a relegation battle this year. Every point is vital. The Foxes are looking to beat the Blueys, the persistent under-achievers, whilst the Blueys are hoping this will be their season. They have performed well in the first two rounds showing both strong defensive qualities and the ability to score a goal and defend the lead. A win today will see them stay at the top of the table on points.
The first half is tight with strong midfields in a duel.
The teams go in 0-0 at half time.
The Blueys defence hold tight and they take all three points.
Fernhill Foxes 0 Tarrawanna Blueys 1
On Sunday Olympic take on White Eagles who will be desperate to get at least a point out of the game otherwise they’ll enter in the relegation zone. Olympic need to win to remain joint leaders with the Blueys.
Olympic get an early goal through Matt Floro 6′.
The White Eagles try to penetrate the Olympic defence with Joel Beattie runs up the flanks as he switches wings and appears to have a free licence to roam.
Half-time and its 1-0
Jamie Wakeling makes it 3-0 in the 90′.
Olympic join the Blueys on top of the ladder.
Wollongong Olympic 3 Albion Park White Eagles 0
Round 4 The table is starting to sort
The Fernhill Foxes meet the Cringila Lions. Both are considered likely candidates for the drop and both are in the relegation zone. The Hill are at home.
It ends all square.
Fernhill Foxes 0 Cringila Lions 0
Corrimal Rangers have experienced difficulty replicating the pre-season form are at home and up against Wollongong Olympic who are hoping that this season will make up for the disappointment of the last. As they walk onto the field they hear announced over the loud-speaker that the Blueys have a two goal lead over Bulli FC. They will need to win this game if they are to stay on top of the ladder with the Blueys.
Corrimal Rangers 1 Wollongong Olympic 0
Round 5 Can the Blueys hold top spot?
The Blueys sit on top of the table and are away to Port. Fernhill defeated Bulli FC so one of the potential title chasers can be left behind in the Blueys wake if they win today. Will this be the long-awaited Blueys season? Previous seasons have had false dawns so the fans will be hoping they can maintain their excellent early form.
Will Tarrawanna rue the missed opportunities and be able to break through a determined Port defence?
Port Kembla 3 Tarrawanna Blueys 0
The same old story!? Inconsistent form has cost the Tarrawanna Blueys on a number of occasions including last year. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Blueys can become more consistent and win a trophy this season. Port Kembla FC proved remarkably resilient and well-organized in defence. This season every team appears capable of winning on any given day. The struggle at the top and bottom is intensifying.
Next up is Wollongong Olympic v Woonona Sharks- bound to be a tough struggle with both teams steeped in tradition. The Sharks date back to 1889 and Olympic are 41 years old and still going strong. Both are a testament to the passion of football as we, the soccer fans like to refer to our game.
Wollongong Olympic 2 Woonona Sharks 2
The ability to fight through adversity by hard work and organization earn the Sharks a valuable point which may be vital at season end when relegation awaits for the bottom placed team.
Round 6 Reshuffle on the cards?
Dinko Terzic goes on to score a hat-trick (50′, 71′, 82′) with a Matt Poposki 90′ coup de grace
Woonona Sharks 0 Coniston FC 5
The Sunday game is between the Blueys and Wollongong United. The Blueys can return to the top of the table if they take all three points at home against a Wollongong United struggling to find form.
They go in half time with Blueys leading 1-0
Tarrawanna Blueys 2 Wollongong United 0
Round 7 The battle at the top heats up
The Blueys take on Olympic who are seeking to bounce back and who are two points in arrears but can leap-frog to the top with a win. For the Blueys, a win would see skylight between them and the chasing pack. All is set for an exciting game.
The win puts Olympic on top of the table.Wollongong Olympic 2 (Ueda 24′, Martinoski 34′) Tarrawanna Blueys 0
The Sunday game features Corrimal Rangers at home against relegation candidate Cringila Lions.
Olympic are top of the table as the Blueys slip down the table. Cringila Lions put in a lack-luster performance and seemed to lack fight against the clearly superior Rangers.
Round Eight: Who are improving and who are not?
The Blueys will be needing all three points if they are to be serious championship contenders. Cono are looking to consolidate their position and start to put pressure on those above them on the table.
Tarrawanna Blueys 2 Coniston 3
The mid-season Blueys form slump see them slide down the ladder.
Round 9 : The whirlpool to the vortex at the bottom
Woonona Sharks take on Cringila Lions- a loss for the Lions would make them lay-down misere to be relegated. The Sharks need to consolidate, or they too will fall into the mire.
Woonona Sharks 1 Cringila Lions 0
In the Sunday match Corrimal Rangers take on South Coast United the other team on the edge of the precipice.
Corrimal Rangers 2 South Coast United 0
Round 10 Vying for the Top
Some big games are on this weekend with the top teams vying for poll position.
Port Kembla 1 Wollongong Olympic 2
Round 11 Table sifting as competition reaches midway
Can the Olympic roll continue when they take on Wollongong United?
Wollongong United 1 Wollongong Olympic 2
Olympic put daylight between themselves and the rest of the pack.
Round 12 Halfway and the run is on!
Hoe springs eternal as the Lions after an excellent win over South Coast United take on ladder leaders Wollongong Olympic at home. Olympic will be seeking to hold onto top spot. The Lions under their new coach hope to build on an impressive win from last week.
Cringila Lions 2 Wollongong Olympic 0
The Sunday game sees Rangers take on Bulli FC. A win for Rangers will lift them to 2nd spot and Bulli need points to build confidence in an underwhelming season so far.
Corrimal Rangers 2 Bulli FC 0
Round 13: It’s getting tighter at both ends of the table
The Foxes take on United who have closed the gap in the relegation zone.
Fernhill Foxes 2 South Coast United 2
The final score keeps the points gap between the sides at 3 points. There is a long way to go and to survive the drop points will be needed.
Round 14 Winter Solstice
The Blueys have been in their usual mid-season form slump while the Foxes are getting perilously close to the bottom. Both sides need a win as Round 14 kicks off on the winter’s solstice.
Tarrawanna Blueys move into 4th spot while Fernhill Foxes await the result of the South Coast United v Bulli FC game to see if they have hit rock bottom. (Table)
Round 15 Race for the Premiership
The clash of the weekend is Olympic v Rangers. Olympic once again have an opportunity to put distance between themselves and the following pack.
Wollongong Olympic 2 Corrimal Rangers 0
Wollongong Olympic sit on top of the table with a lead of eight points. South Coast United defeated Port Kembla 2-1, leaving the Foxes to prop up the table. Next week the race for the playoff places heats up.
Round 16: Congested traffic chase finals spots
The Foxes need points if they are to avoid relegation. They take on Bulli FC at home on a heavy pitch drenched by rain over the last few days. The Illawarra has existing clubs as old 1883 yet local and state governments have failed in all that time to provide adequate grounds but are prepared to splurge on new to town luxury AFL grounds. Nevertheless, the IPL goes on and must deal with sub-standard facilities and grounds starved of funds by bigoted government authorities.
The Sunday game is between Tarrawanna and Port Kembla. Port need points and the Blueys can consolidate and make a challenge for the League Championship.