Friday, 16 August 2013 3:06 PM
It has been over a decade since the Wollongong Wolves claimed back-to-back NSL titles and now another important day in the club’s history is beckoning as they look to stave off relegation.
Now known as the South Coast Wolves, the side is fighting to stay in the NSW National Premier League as the competition heads into the final round.
The Wolves sit in second last position, two points ahead of APIA Leichardt and a point behind this week’s opponents Central Coast Mariners Academy.
A win this week would see the Wolves avoid finishing bottom and likely avoid relegation, although the waters are muddied by the fact that under 18 and under 20 results do play some part in determining the team that does drop to the second-tier.
There is also the possibility that none of the NPL teams will be dropped if the top second-tier team, currently St George, does not fit the criteria to play in the NPL which is centred around the club’s facilities.
However this is not a chance that Wolves captain and former Sydney FC and North Queensland Fury player Jacob Timpano and his teammates are going to take.
“There is definitely a lot of motivation to go out there and get the result this week,” said Timpano.
“We are aware of what we need to do and the consequences of not achieving this.
“I personally came through as a junior at the club and now have a lot to do with the junior development programs so the club is close to my heart. I know how important it is to keep the side in the NPL which is extra motivation for myself.
“Personally I do not like the relegation system as it is putting too much pressure on semi-professional players and the younger squads which is detrimental to their development, but we have to deal with it for this year at least.”
The Wolves played the Central Coast Mariners Academy earlier in the season and lost 4-3 in a high scoring affair and will now be looking to turn the tables on their opponents this Sunday.
“I think the match will definitely be tight whether it is high scoring this time round or not.
“We are both doing our best to avoid relegation and this will ensure that both teams are going to give it everything.”
Timpano’s side had the opportunity to remove themselves from the relegation battle last week when they had a 1-1 draw with last placed APIA Leichardt but couldn’t quite get the job done.
“Much like this week will be, last week’s match was with two teams looking to avoid going down.
“Like much of our season we probably should have got all three points but we managed to get a draw which ensured we remained above them on the table heading into this week.”
While the results on the field have not been as the Wolves have wished the club has been kicking some goals off it.
The Wolves will be looking to move to West Dapto where a 14 million dollar grant has been pledged to upgrade facilities over the next couple of years.
“It is definitely some good news, especially for football in the Illawarra region.
”It is likely not to be ready for a couple of years but we are likely to be playing at WIN Stadium next year which is one of the best sporting grounds in the country. We are looking forward to it.”
Having come through the ranks in the club’s glory days, Timpano believes that the future could see a team from the Illawarra region playing in the top flight of Australian football.
“It might take a little bit of time but I believe that we have the facilities, the players and the supporters down here that can make an A-League successful club here in the future.
“It would be great to see a team from the area back in the top competition.”
While Timpano’s current priorities are focused towards keeping the club in the NPL for next season and beyond, the 27-year-old does believe that if given the opportunity that he could play at the highest level once again.
“I’ve played the last two or three State League (now NPL) seasons without missing many games to injury which was a major problem of mine was when I was playing in the A-League.
“I think that if given the chance that I have still have the ability to play in the top league again.”
Timpano and the Wolves take on Central Coast Mariners Academy at Hooka Creek Park on Sunday with kickoff at 3pm.