Wollongong will use Sydney match to push for A-League inclusion

Wollongong Wolves coach Jacob Timpano said the club’s FFA Cup round of 32 clash with Sydney FC would be another opportunity for the South Coast region to push its claims for inclusion when the A-League is eventually expanded.

FFA Cup - South Coast Wolves v Central Coast Mariners

The South Coast Wolves take on the Central Coast Mariners at WIN Stadium in 2014 in the FFA Cup. Source: Getty Images

Not so much with the result, although that will obviously be important to both teams, but how much the area warms to the game in terms of local interest and attendance.

Dates and venues for round of 32 games are yet to be confirmed, but the Wollongong-Sydney clash is expected to be played at WIN Stadium and will proceed either late this month or early next month.

“It’s an opportunity again for the Illawarra to put our best foot forward for an A-League team in the future,” Timpano told The World Game at the round of 32 draw on Thursday.

“We had a game in the first year of the FFA Cup against the Mariners, and the All Stars game drew a good crowd down here. Sydney FC have played here, the Matildas have played here, so it’s a big area and an important area and at some stage we do deserve a team in the A-League.

“This is another small step towards that in the short to long term. It’s an opportunity for us to make it a really good event and show the FFA and the rest of the country that we can get good support down here and give it a crack.

“It’s exciting, coming up against Sydney FC. Being an ex-Sydney player myself, it’s special, but it’s also attractive for Wollongong because there are a lot of Sydney FC supporters down here.

“It’s probably the match-up everyone was hoping for from our end and it panned out, so everyone’s looking forward to it.”

It is also a great opportunity for Timpano, a rookie coach at this level at the age of just 30, to show he can prepare a team well for a difficult challenge against opposition that comes from A-League level.

Timpano was in the Sydney side in the first season of the A-League, in 2005-2006, and was at centre-back when they won the grand final against Central Coast Mariners that year.

He stayed with the Sky Blues for three more seasons, but didn’t get many games after the first year, mainly because of injuries.  He later played several seasons in the NSW NPL with Wollongong before retiring early. Midway through last season, he took over as Wolves coach.

“Yeah, obviously it’s very early in my coaching career,” he said. “I had to stop playing because of a lot of injuries, but I’m enjoying coaching and I’m learning at a rapid rate.

“It’s very different to playing. I’m just taking it as it comes, but in coaching terms I’m very young and I’ve got a long way to go. Hopefully, I can improve myself and take steps forward.”

Timpano said he would love to make a career out of coaching, but that he wasn’t looking too far ahead at this stage.

“Initially, I was doing a lot of coaching with juniors and that was probably more what I was looking at for the future,” he said. “But this opportunity came calling and not many guys my age get this chance and I’m very grateful. I’m just looking to work extremely hard and see where it takes me.

“Whether being the boss at senior level is something that is right for me I need to find out over the next couple of years, but coaching is something I definitely want to do.

“There isn’t a great deal of opportunity at the highest level in Australia, with only 10 teams in the A-League, and there are a lot of guys lining up to do it and they include ex-players who played at a lot higher level than I did.

“It would be hard to break through, but I just need to concentrate on myself and hopefully things go well and opportunities present themselves.”

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4 min read
Published 1 July 2016 at 3:22pm
By Greg Prichard