South Coast Wolves say they won’t be overawed when they take on Central Coast Mariners in the FFA Cup and see the match as the perfect opportunity to prove their region deserves an A-League team.
The Mariners will meet the Wolves at WIN Stadium in Wollongong on August 20 and Bobby Mazevski, the club’s chairman, said the Wolves are ecstatic to have drawn the Central Coast in the Cup.
“We were hoping that we’d draw an A-League team, but I guess the preference would have been to see ourselves against one of our neighbours,” he said.
“But we’re certainly very ecstatic to have Central Coast and we probably fancy our chances to be fair. The players and the coaching staff are taking it very seriously. Obviously our main priority right now if getting through the league and ensuring we finish strongly there.
“This final game ironically falls straight after our last game of the season, so we’ll be putting it all in that game.”
The Wolves currently sit in ninth place in the NSW National Premier League. The club’s top scorer this season is Jordan Murrey with three goals and they are captained by ex-Sydney FC defender Jacob Timpano although the former Joey, Young Socceroo and Olyroo may miss the FFA Cup tie due to injury.
“It’s not about big-name players for us, we’ve got a very young, mobile squad and a lot of our players have been selected for A-League youth trials,” Mazevski said.
“That’s I guess testament to the type of people we’re getting through our club ranks this year and testament and reward to those people who’ve got the potential to play at that level.
“We’ve been up against it for longer times in the Cup games and we’ve managed to pull through with a young squad, relatively inexperienced but they’re building with experience, they’re building with confidence. We’re certainly building towards that game and we’ll certainly leave nothing unturned in regards to that game.”
Mazevski is hoping the match attracts a crowd of over 3,000 at WIN Stadium but admits it’s hard to forecast.
“There’s a lot of interest in the community right now,” he said.
“I guess we’re hoping for between three to five thousand, that’s what we kind of expect. It could well be up to six thousand, we just don’t know. I guess it’s going to depend on the weather condition. If the weather’s OK, it’s a good night, I guess we’ll get a very good crowd.”
Mazevski said the Wolves won’t be overawed when taking on the Mariners.
“We’ve got a very attacking style of football that we play,” he said.
“We’ve very much tightened up defensively. So from our perspective it’s about being strong in all areas and facets of the game. At the end of the day, we’re just not trying to have any weak points in our game and hopefully we’ll take our chances when they do come.
"There will be chances against Central Coast and hopefully we can keep them out long enough to take some of our chances.
“We’ve been blessed with the draw that we’ve had. A home game against an A-League team, a team that’s featured in the finals for the last few years, that’s been very consistent despite not having some of the big marquee players.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for Central Coast but we’re not going to be overawed by the occasion, it’s going to be an occasion that we’ll certainly be going to try and take with both hands.”
The club was founded in 1980 as Wollongong City Football Club and competed as the Wollongong Wolves in the National Soccer League until 2004. It was renamed as the South Coast Wolves in 2010.
Wolves have a proud history, having won back-to-back NSL grand finals in 2000 and 2001, and were crowned Ocean Club champions in 2001. The club has produced a number of Socceroos including Scott Chipperfield, Mile Sterjovski and Luke Wilkshire.
Mazevski said this FFA Cup encounter is the perfect chance for the NSW South Coast to demonstrate why it should have its own A-League club.
“The players are very excited about it,” he said.
“They all know what this means, not just for this club but for this region as well. The ambition is that this region has some representation in the A-League. If we can put in a really strong performance and get a really strong crowd then I think that it will send a strong message to the powers that be that this region does deserve football representation at that level.”
Photo credit: Pedro Garciacomments