Solid Bailey central to Olympic’s bid for glory


JACOB Bailey admits he had plenty of nerves when he ran out for his first top-grade grand final in 2012.

In his first year with heavyweight club Hamilton, Bailey was part of their maiden minor premiership but felt the pain of grand final defeat when Broadmeadow downed a 10-man Olympic 4-1.

Three years on, the 26-year-old has gone from nervous youngster to the midfield enforcer and mentor for Olympic as they look to erase the memory of that defeat against Edgeworth in the Northern NSW National Premier League decider on Sunday at Magic Park.

Bailey was a standout for Hamilton across their nerve-racking 3-2 semi-final win on aggregate over Lambton Jaffas. Last Sunday, he played 120 minutes in the middle of the park as Hamilton fought back from two goals down in the second-leg qualifier to draw 2-2 and progress to the decider.

Hamilton coach Michael Bolch said the performance was typical of Bailey’s effort this campaign, in which he has been part of the senior players’ group along with Kyle Hodges and Andrew and Matt Swan.

‘‘He’s been a leader out on the park this season and been one of our best all year along with Kyle,’’ Bolch said.

‘‘He’s been very good at winning those 50-50 balls and he just loves the battle.

‘‘He epitomises everything we have tried to do this year.

‘‘He always seems to be in the right place at the right time, he does a lot of the dog work in the middle of the park, but he never complains.

‘‘He’s good with the young kids as well. He’s been a really great mentor for guys like Tom Davies, Rhys Cooper and Pat Brown.’’

Brown, Bailey and Ben Koina are the only survivors of Olympic’s 2012 grand final side.

Bailey believes Olympic’s even balance of youth and experience, and added mobility up front with the likes of Simon Mooney, can get them over the line this time around.

‘‘I think we’re a lot more attacking and from our results this year, our for and against, we’re right up there with the best. There’s obviously something there that’s working for us and it keeps us in good stead for the game on the weekend.’’

Regardless of the challenge come Sunday, Edgeworth will know Bailey is in the contest.

One of the hardest competitors in the league, Bailey has a reputation for his physical style but also his cheeky smile and on-field banter with opponents.

‘‘It’s all part of the game, the battle, and it’s a part I really enjoy,’’ he said.

‘‘This year, out of most years gone by, I’ve enjoyed it a lot, probably because of the playing group we’ve got.

‘‘We’ve gelled really well with that good mix of young and old, and that’s led to some good results for us. I’m hoping it’s going to take us one further.’’

Broadmeadow win race to sign up demoted Gunners skipper

BROADMEADOW have moved quickly to secure the signing of long-time South Cardiff captain Jarryd Johnson as they attempt to get back to the top of the league.

Magic co-coach Bob Naumov announced on Tuesday that the midfielder had agreed to join the club for next year after the Gunners’ last-place finish and demotion.

Several clubs were chasing the signature of the 28-year-old and Naumov was excited about securing his services as Magic look to improve on their fourth-place finish and loss in the semi-finals to Edgeworth on away goals last week.

Naumov and Robert Virgili returned to coach Broadmeadow this season after the side were second-last as the three-time defending major premiers last year.

‘‘We’re disappointed with where we finished this year and we as coaches are disappointed with what we achieved, so we’ve decided to stay on for another year,’’ Naumov said.

He believed Johnson could be the missing piece to the puzzle in 2016.

‘‘He’s always been seen as one of the best midfielders in the comp but I don’t think he’s really reached his full potential,’’ he said.

‘‘Hopefully with him coming out of his comfort zone next year, he will excel, and I believe he will.’’

■  Edgeworth will break a 20-year record if they complete a clean sweep of the Northern NSW NPL grand finals on Sunday.

Weston were the last club, in 1995, to win all senior deciders in the top NNSW division and Edgeworth assistant coach Tony Lyons, who was part of the sweep, has enjoyed 20-year anniversary celebrations this year. The Eagles were minor premiers in first grade and under 22s but have come from fourth place in under19s to meet runners-up Magic in the grand final.

■  Hunter Sports High School’s girls team and ASC, St Peter’s, Maitland’s boys side will play off for third in the 15years schools Bill Turner knockout on Wednesday after losses on Tuesday.

The St Peter’s boys lost 8-0 to Westfields Sports High  at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility and on Wednesday will meet Maribyrnong College, Victoria, who went down 2-1 to Ipswich Grammar in their semi-final.

Hunter Sports High’s girls side also lost to Westfields Sports, going down 2-1 a golden goal scored in extra time.

Renee Pountney scored in the 44th minute for Hunter Sports to cancel out Princess Ibini-Isei’s goal, but Rosaria Galea netted the winner.

Westfields play Holy Spirit, Bellambi, who beat Cavendish Road High in the other semi, for the title.



1ST GRADE (3pm)

Eagles (1) v Olympic (3)

UNDER 22s (1pm)

Eagles (1) v Emerging

Jets U18s (2)

UNDER 19s (11am)

Magic (2) v Eagles (4)

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