Wollongong United made an emphatic preseason statement with a 5-0 demolition of title rivals Bulli to claim the Fraternity Club Cup on Sunday.
Four goals in the 22-minute blitz to open the match propelled United into a dominant position at Memorial Park before they finished the job in the second half. Recruit Nathan Elasi opened the scoring inside two minutes before Sam Munro, Matthew McNab, Ben Brooks and Kazuto Kushida all added to the scoresheet.
It helped United complete a hat-trick of consecutive Cup wins and gave new boss Jeff Allport his first piece of silverware at the helm of the club.
"It’s a great feeling,” Allport said. “It’s a good club. There is high expectations at the same time and a quality playing group. I am really enjoying working with them. “
United took advantage of a Bulli in the opening exchanges after the defending league championship winners left reigning George Naylor medallist Guy Knight as well as David Abel and Dylan Lewis on the bench. Ben McDonald played no part.
Elasi’s goal was followed up by a lovely finish from Munro before McNab squeezed one in from a tight angle in the 14th minute.
Brooks all but ended Bulli’s challenge from a scramble in the box to help United to a 4-0 half time lead.
“The first half performance was really good and clinical with the finishing which was the only thing we have probably been missing leading up to today,” Allport said. “It gives the boys a lot of confidence.”
Bulli coach Matt Bailey has no doubt a short turnaround impacted his side in the Fraternity Club Cup final on Sunday, but admitted his men were outclassed by a rampant Wollongong United outfit.
An under-strength Bulli squad looked a shadow of the team they were last season when they were thrashed 5-0 by United.
The heavy loss came less than 48 hours after Bulli beat Coogee United 2-1 in round two of the FFA Cup.
“It is a game where we were outclassed in a number of areas and whether you win or lose, there is an opportunity to take something out of the game,” he said.
“I think there is a few things we can take away.”