Wollongong Wolves inspired to make their FFA Cup mark

Wollongong Wolves coach Jacob Timpano has told his players their FFA Cup clash with Sydney FC is a potential life-changing opportunity.

Wollongong Wolves

Wollongong Wolves have their sights set on becoming an A-League franchise Source: Football NSW

Timpano said his players were more excited than nervous about the Round of 32 clash, with the success of other NPL sides against A-League opposition providing further inspiration.

“Oh, for sure, our boys have seen those results and I’ve said to them from the start it only takes one moment in a game to change a career or change your life,” Timpano told The World Game.

“Something happens and you’re seen and you never know what direction you might go in. Yeah, the boys are going to be up for it and hopefully we can have a few players that stand out and make everyone take notice of what they’ve got.”


On back-to-back nights last week, Victorian side Green Gully eliminated last year’s A-League wooden spooners, Central Coast Mariners, and Queensland team Redlands United sent A-League champions Adelaide United packing.

Wollongong have had a tough time of it this season, but last Saturday they rebounded with a crucial, 1-0 win over Parramatta City on the road that Timpano said had given the entire club a huge lift because it had saved them from possible relegation .

Wolves are 11th on the 12-team NSW NPL competition table with one round to go as they prepare to tackle a Sky Blues outfit that surprisingly missed last season’s A-League finals but made the last 16 of the AFC Champions League and have rebooted their playing roster for the upcoming season.

“The result on the weekend does take a lot of pressure off, especially when you’ve got a lot of young kids in the squad,” Timpano said.

“Having to deal with the pressure they were dealing with makes it hard and you could see the relief on the players’ faces after the game.

“It (the relegation battle) was close for a while there, but at the end of the day we’ve survived and it’s a learning curve for all of us.”

Timpano, 30, played several seasons with Sydney FC in the early years of the A-League. Mounting injuries forced him to retire in his late 20s and he has taken to a coaching career with plenty of determination. Already, he has experienced the ups and downs of it.

“I took over at Wolves midway through last season and we came from last to make the semis,” he said. “We won nine of our last 10 games, so that was a massive positive.

“This year has been much more difficult, but for myself as a coach I’ve learned a lot as I’ve gone from one end of the scale to the other and overall I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far.

“I’ve got a long way to go and I know that, but if someone had said to me that at 30 years of age you will have coached a team in the NPL semi-finals and then coached a team in the FFA Cup and coached a team in a relegation battle and survived it, I probably would’ve taken that.”

Asked what his team had to get right to give themselves some chance of causing a massive upset, Timpano replied: “We have to get our defence absolutely right. We’ve shot ourselves in the foot a lot of times this season with silly goals, so if we can defend well and contain Sydney that way and create chances, like we have done throughout the season, we can cause them a few problems.

“We’re the underdogs, but as we’ve seen in the FFA Cup there have been a couple of upsets already and we’ll be aiming to do the same.

“But all the A-League teams have been put on notice by those results and I’m sure Sydney wouldn’t come into the game unprepared, so we’ve got to be ready for them to be on their game.

“They’ll be taking it quite seriously and with the players they’ve brought in they’ll want to get off to a good start and I’m sure ‘Arnie’ (coach Graham Arnold) will have them ready to go.”

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4 min read
Published 9 August 2016 at 10:26am
By Greg Prichard