The Wolves signed off on the 2022 Mens 1 campaign, farewelling coach of four years Luke Wilkshire in the process, with an entertaining and end to end, 3-3 draw against Sutherland Sharks. A first minute goal, and a brace to right defender Banri Kanaizumi saw the Wolves go out to a two goal advantage, only for Sutherland to regroup and garner the lead 3-2. A third goal to the Wolves restored the equilibrium. Both the teams had further opportunities to achieve the victory, but it was not to be.


Before the match began, a presentation was made to two Wolves personnel by CEO Strebre Delovski, to coach Luke Wilkshire, who has accepted an offer to be involved in youth development with the Central Coast Mariners, and to stalwart clubman and life member, Lou Tobia, who has decided to ‘retire’ after many, many, years of devoted service.  


The Wolves began the proceedings by kicking off and attacking the southern goal.


Just fifty seconds into game, the Wolves enjoyed their best start in a match all season. A Leroy Jennings corner kick from the right side flew enticingly to the far post with Banri Kanaizumi meeting the ball to head into the goal with the Sharks custodian Jacob Cremen-Cowan, diving in vain to his right and the correct way.   


The Sharks looked to redress the situation quickly when Jeremy Cox produced an enterprising effort from outside the box but it was high, a minute later. The Sharks pushed into an attacking mode but Senna Stevenson won out over James Andrew and Nick Littler got a foot in the dispossess Mitchell Smith. 


Seven minutes after the first Wolves goal, the Sharks’ Patrick O’Shea conceded a corner kick. This time it was swung in from the left side by Jennings. Again it was Kanaizumi who headed down, with the ball bouncing into the goal to beat a spreadeagled custodian.  A brace was an achievement and this was the right defender’s six goal of the season, a good offensive return for a defender.


Ten minutes in, Nikola Djordjevic cleared off the line as yet, another Shark attack was enacted after Durose had stopped the ball on the line. However, the Sharks were not to be denied for long.


The Sharks pulled one goal back through Jeremy Cox with his initial goal for 2022. Nick Sullivan progressed and from just outside the penalty area, he subsequently produced a fine low shot, which Durose managed to prevent. However, the ball went loose and was picked up by Cox.  From close vicinity, he pushed the ball into the Wolves’ domain with Kanaizumi sliding in a vain attempt of prevention.    


The Sharks had begun to play with added confidence, belying their position on the cellar of the standings.  After being two goals up, the Wolves relaxed somewhat and this was to their detriment.

Smith picked a loose ball and ventured forward and when in range he fired in a shot, which did not bring up the desired outcome, as Durose grasped the low ball with able assuredness. A Jennings corner kick, which caused consternation in the Shark defence after earlier successes, saw Djordjevic produced an acute attacking header that Cremen-Cowan caught. At the other end, Kanaizumi blocked Smith’s shot from the edge of the box.


Two minutes after the half hour, the Sharks had got back to level pegging. A tackle deemed dangerous by the man in charge saw Tsujimura penalised. Chris Lindsay was the designated penalty taker and he despatched the ball with precise power to beat Durose. Midfielder, Brendan Griffin from his position on the left dispatched the ball to Kanaizumi at the far post but alas, he could not project the ball to where he wanted it to go. Griffin saw a chance of a shot on thirty-six minutes, but the Shark’s custodian denied him.


With five minutes to go, Jake Lavalle won the ball from Andrew with a decisive tackle only for play to be held for the injured Kuot Maliet who had made some early incursions. A one handed Durose save managed to thwart Smith and later, he denied Cox as he turned and generated an effort that Durose took at waist height. Following a Griffin pass, Jennings tried one from distance that unfortunately went skyward.


At half time it was 2-2 and at this stage it was anybody’s game.  Sutherland had shown resilience to come back from a two-goal deficit and the Wolves despite two goals in the first eight minutes had lost their initial impetus by this time.


Lachlan Scott was brought on as a second half substitute for Lavalle by coach Wilkshire in order to change things up. Two minutes after the resumption of play, Marcus Beattie made a good run into the box but before he could affect the score line, Sutherland intervened. Scott received a Jennings pass but proceeded to hit his effort over the crossbar and this chance went begging. At the other end, Smith looked to find space to let go but was ultimately closed down, but he was not to denied on his next foray.   


Eight minutes after half time, Sutherland gained the advantage in the match for the first time. The ball was lifted over and Smith found himself on the goal side of Stevenson and on side. With Stevenson sniping as he moved forward, Smith saw Durose coming off his line and dispatched the ball to the far side off the goal with confidence and aplomb. This was his third goal and second in successive matches.


Griffin went close only for Cremen-Cowan to fingertip over.


On sixty-seven minutes, it was the Wolves turn to halt Sutherland’s three goal procession. Tsujimura made forward movement for ten metres or so in the centre to slot an incisive pass out to the left for Stevenson. He in turn moved inward with a step over as he moved into the penalty area. He subsequently slipped a pass back to second half substitute Joshua Macdonald. He went across field for a few steps before sending the ball to Kanaizumi on the right of goal. He hit it first time towards the goal. The custodian could not reach the ball and O’Shea, as fell to the ground, pushed it away. However, it ball only went as far as Jennings. He was there to punish the Sharks inability to clear concisely by drilling it with able accuracy.     


Sutherland was not going to go down without a fight when Chris Lindsay’s corner kick came in and as play went on, Stevenson was on the line to deny another Shark sojourn by Andrew, as he looked to improve on his six goal tally for this season’s campaign. Kanaizumi cleared a Lindsay free kick and Durose had to vacate his domain to deny Smith. Two substitutes by each team was there to freshen up the teams and Kanaizumi hit his effort over with ten minutes of normal time remaining a few minutes after the substitutes entry on the field.      


Jennings pushed the ball out to Nav Darjani. He let go with his good effort being saved by Cremen-Cowan with a corner kick being conceded as a consequence. A minute later, Nicholas Kalule’s foot derailed a Sutherland offensive manoeuvre. A Djordjevic tackle on Cox helped to allay the danger and a Joshua Macdonald free kick was headed narrowly over by Littler.


An Andrew arrow of a shot was palmed over by Durose who denied Lindsay a little later.


The encounter concluded in a six goal stalemate with the Wolves eighth and Sutherland’s fourth draw. The Sharks finish with three wins and have thirteen points in twelfth position, with the Wolves having achieved four victories, twenty points and are positioned ninth. This result was the third such 3-3 draw this season, after earlier ones with Sydney Olympic and Sydney FC.  


Coach Luke Wilkshire for the final time - ‘it been a good four years and I have really appreciated the support…   We started almost too well. You go two goals up and then we got a bit lax and we saw the reaction from them. They were more aggressive, picking up the second balls and were more desperate than us.  They came back into the game. It was entertaining for the neutral with six goals. Another draw.  After fifteen minutes, there was a shift in the game. It is disappointing and has been a problem for us all season, but that’s football and you learn a lot from it… There are a lot of memories and what has been achieved. I’ve learnt a lot outside of playing, I have learnt about players about myself, I take away a lot of great memories and fantastic long time friendships.  I will continue to grow and learn.  This season has not gone as I would have liked and we have dealt and it is as it is.’


Captain for the game and impressive custodian Hayden Durose - on being captain for the first time. ‘It is an honour to be captain.  Being one of the senior players, I like to support the younger players and encourage…. We started better than we had all season and then seemed to relax.’   







Banri Kanaizumi 1’ 8’ Leroy Jennings 67’




Jeremy Cox 19’ Chris Lindsay 32’ pen Mitchell Smith 52’


@ WIN Stadium, Wollongong.


SUNDAY 31st July 2022


3.00 p.m. Kick Off




Coach: Luke Wilkshire 


1.Hayden Durose (GK) Capt. 4.Nikola Djordjevic 5.Banri Kanaizumi 6.Senna Stevenson 8.Brendan Griffin (25.Nav Darjani 79’) 10.Takumu Tsujimura (12.Nicholas Kalule 79’) 15.Nick Littler 17.Marcus Beattie 19.Jake Lavalle (24.Lachlan Scott 46’) 20.Kuot Maliet (11.Joshua Macdonald 57’)

22.Leroy Jennings 


Substitutes not used: 13.RGK Tomas Butkovic 2.Daniel Goni


Yellow Cards: Senna Stevenson 90+2 Leroy Jennings 90+3


Red Cards: nil




Coach: Steve Gordon


26.Jacob Cremen-Cowan GK 6.Patrick O’Shea (8.John Fotopoulos 79’)  7.Evan Ball 9.Jeremy Cox 10.Lachlan Everett 14.Chris Lindsay 17.James Andrew 18. Mitchell Smith (25.Luke Sauer 79’) 22. Nick Sullivan 23.Mark Rodic 99.Lachlan Macdonald


Substitutes Not Used: 33. Matthew Jackson, 32.Tye McGowan 16.Samuel Smith


Yellow Cards: nil


Red Card: nil



Referee: Brodie Merchant


Assistant Referees: Maggie Price and Harrison Fisher  


4th Official: Hadi Al-Nakeeb



By Malcolm Rowney