On a typical winter’s night, with temperatures down and rain becoming heavier as the game progressed the Wollongong Wolves went down to Rockdale Ilinden 2-1. However, the Wolves performance especially in the first half was underwhelming and Rockdale took an easy two-goal advantage. The home side pulled one back through a penalty kick with a decidedly better second half. Rockdale had coasted somewhat in the second half until the Wolves equalised with nine minutes left.  The last few minutes had many chances to effect the outcome but it was not to be.    


The Wolves kicked off the encounter and ran towards the northern end. It was Rockdale who began intently and Alec Urosevski was put through with superbly lifted ball from Mitchell Stamatellis. Urosevski was into space between the two Wolves central defenders Nick Littler and Banri Kanaizumi and his ultimate left footed shot lacked power and the Wolves custodian Hayden Durose took it gladly.


A number off miss directed passes did not assist both teams too much before they settled into a groove.


Urosevski was eager and tried to get through only for Joshua Macdonald to harass with a corner kick being the outcome. Jaden Casella swept it in from the right with Daniel Petkovski heading over at the far post. Rockdale attacked again but this time the Wolves central defender Banri Kanaizumi was there to intercept and deny the threat. The central defender many times during the match made such interventions.  The Wolves were doing a lot of chasing as Rockdale had the lions share of possession.  Before long, Tomoki Wada had put the ball wide and Rockdale was not to be denied for too much longer. 


The Wolves gifted Rockdale for their first goal after only nine minutes had elapsed. A pass from a Wolves’ player was under pressure as his pass traversed wide of Nick Littler and he was unable to gain possession.  Urosevski stole in to take ownership of the ball. He took one step before powering his left footed shot past the advancing Durose, who was cruelly exposed. Urosevski had scored his eighth goal against the Wolves and his seventeenth of the 2022 campaign.


The Wolves looked to re-dress the situation quickly when Kanaizumi put Macdonald down the left. A defender only stopped his momentum, by throwing out his leg.  The Rockdale custodian David Bradasevic took a following Macdonald corner kick. Marcus Beattie left his wing for a time working down the middle in order to spur his team on. Kanaizumi blocked Urosevski as he searched for a shooting angle. 


Three minutes short of the half hour, Leroy Jennings received the ball from Scott, with his ensuing effort taking a deflection. Two minutes past the half hour, a scramble in the Rockdale box saw Jennings endeavouring to find some space to get a shot on but it failed to open. 


At the other end, Petkovski headed narrowly over. When a number of corner kicks happened. In addition, Durose pushed a Casella effort onto the post, with the rebound falling to Urosevski. His shot took a deflection and flew over.


It was in fortieth minutes that Rockdale earned a two-goal buffer.  Casella put a high corner kick in from the right corner. It went a fair way past the far post to be collected by Peter Kekeris. He whipped it back across the goal.  Urosevski went for a header with the ball falling at the feet of Casella. As Macdonald tried unsuccessfully to block, Casella in turn from the right of goal lifted the ball to lodge in the far inside side netting of the goal to notch his seventh goal of this season. 


In the time remaining of the first half, Scott put the ball into the side netting as Jake Lavalle and Macdonald were involved prior. William Mutch put the ball in on target but Durose was equal to the task.


At half time, the away side held all the aces and the Wolves, who have been notoriously slow starters, had a mountain to climb.


It did not take Rockdale long to begin the second half where they left off in the first stanza- on the offensive. Peter Kekeris steamed down the left for quite a way before being halted by a tackle. Scant time later, he came in from the left before shooting but his effort did not advance his team’s tally. Another foray eventuated but this time Kanaizumi broke it up.


Just short of the hour, the Wolves were working themselves back into the fray with a more sustained effort. A Jennings shot flew wide and Scott, after receiving a pass from Beattie, blazed over. 


Urosevski turned provider for Kekeris but he could not take the upper hand. Following a free kick to the Wolves, Macdonald produced a low shot that was charged down with this being a sign of the times.


Durose left his domain to deny Kekeris before the attacking player hit his attempt skyward. Ten metres from outside the box, Wada produced a shot that did not change the scoreboard.


The Wolves pegged one back in the eighty-first minute. Jake Lavalle tried a shot from outside the box that Chris McStay was penalised for handball. Lachlan Scott took the resultant spot kick. It went to the left of a diving Bradasevic who also went the correct way, but could not prevent the ball from entering his domain.


With six of normal time remaining, the Wolves stated to threaten more regularly. Scott directed the ball low on target. Alas, It did not have requisite power to trouble Bradasevic.  However, Kekeris put another attempt wide before second half substitute Brendan Griffin pushed a high cross in from the right. At the far post was Kuot Maliet but he could not deliver where he wanted to go. With five minutes added on, Lavalle hit one from distance that did bring up the desired outcome. 


The second half was a somewhat improvement on the first forty-five minutes for the Wolves but Rockdale had the match in hand. 


Luke Wilkshire - ‘it was not good enough, nowhere near good enough. That’s where the game was lost, in that first half. You can’t just can’t turn up and play forty-five minutes of football. If you don’t have the mentality, heart and desire to win a game of football, there’s no point in turning up. The second half was better and you saw the reaction from the players. The first forty-five was unacceptable. We have four games to go and we want to finish on a high.’


Custodian Hayden Durose - ‘It was poor decisions and executions on certain things, the execution needs to be better. It was not the way we want to play.   It was pretty frustrating, conceding an early goal.   We pretty much lost that game in the first half… The second half was much better and we gained a bit of momentum after the penalty…. We were still second best.’ 







Lachlan Scott 81’ pen




Alec Urosevski 9’ Jaden Casella 40’


@ WIN Stadium, Wollongong.


FRIDAY 1st July 2022


6.00 p.m. Kick Off




Coach: Luke Wilkshire 


1.Hayden Durose (GK) 5.Banri Kanaizumi 10.Takumu Tsujimura (8.Brendan Griffin 71’) 15.Nick Littler 16.Guy Knight © 17.Marcus Beattie 19.Jake Lavalle 24.Lachlan Scott (Capt.) 22.Leroy Jennings (20.Kuot Maliet 71’) 6.Senna Stevenson 11.Joshua Macdonald (25.Nav Darjani 71’)


Substitutes not used: 13 RGK Tomas Butkovic 2.Daniel Goni12.Harrison Taranto


Yellow Cards: Brendan Griffin 90’, Senna Stevenson 90+5


Red Cards: nil




Coach - Steve Zoric


1.David Bradasevic 2.Daniel Petkovski 4.Mitchell Stamatellis (15.Jamie Percevski 90’) 5.Will Mutch 6.Daniel Araujo 7.Alec Urosevski (9.Bai Antoniou 80’) 10.Tomoki Wada 11.Peter Kekeris 8.Nikola Kuleski 23.Jaden Casella 88.Chris McStay


Substitutes Not Used: 31.RGK Matthew Marrum 16.Mo Ahmed 17.Vince Fedele


Yellow Cards: Chris McStay 90+3’


Red Card: nil




Referee: Michael Weiner


Assistant Referees: Brodie Merchant and Aaron Bloch


4th Official: Logan Jones



By Malcolm Rowney