Pre-season: Sydney take on Phoenix in Wollongong double-header

Football fans from the Illawarra will be treated to a pre-season double-header when Sydney FC’s A-League and W-League sides take part in the South Coast Football Challenge at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.

The Sky Blues women’s team will play a curtain raiser against the Illawarra Stingrays (kick off 5:15pm) before last season’s A-League grand finalists clash with Wellington Phoenix (kick off 7:45pm).

The challenge takes place on September 18 just a month out from the start of the 2015/16 A-League season.

For Sydney fans it will be the first opportunity to see international marquee Filip Holosko and import Milos Ninkovic in action on home soil.

Coach Graham Arnold said he was looking forward to further testing his squad against A-League opposition during pre-season.

“We are looking forward to giving our South Coast fans a chance to see us in Wollongong,” Arnold said.

“Wellington proved last season what a strong team they are having reached the finals stages, and they will provide an excellent test for us at the right time in pre-season.

“We always get fabulous support in Wollongong and I’m hoping as many football fans can get out and support both our Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League teams on the 18th.”

Stuart Barnes, General Manager for WIN Sports & Entertainment Centres said the South Coast Football Challenge is a prime opportunity for the people of the South Coast to experience the quality of men’s and women’s professional football.

“It is exciting for Venues NSW to be hosting the inaugural ‘South Coast Football Challenge’ at WIN Stadium,” Barnes said.

“This year, we welcome back A League teams Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix in the men’s challenge and Sydney FC’s W League team and the Illawarra Stingrays in the women’s challenge.

“Once again this game offers the chance for the people of the Illawarra and southern Sydney to enjoy, first-hand, the skills of the best in football and for WIN Stadium to again prove its worth as a home of elite Football.”

Football South Coast CEO Ann-Marie Balliana said is looking forward to the two games.

“It's fantastic to see Wollongong is a regular host of some top class football,” she said.

“It's particularly exciting to see the inaugural South Coast Football Challenge with a fixture showcasing women's football and our Illawarra Stingrays.

“This is another great opportunity for local football fans to enjoy a great night of football.”

PHOTO: Sydney FC take on Newcastle Jets at WIN Stadium in January, 2015