Cash-strapped South Coast Wolves stand to have another $80,000 black hole in next year's budget after reluctantly lodging their application for the new NSW Premier League on the premise of using multiple grounds.
Football South Coast tendered a bid on Monday on behalf of the Wolves for next year's restructured competition, which is expected to see up to 20 clubs jockeying for just 12 positions.
South Coast's application was submitted on the basis of the 2012 finalists hiring both Crehan Park at Cringila and Primbee's Wetherall Park to accommodate their junior and senior sides.
It's anticipated the under 16s, under 18s, youth grade and first grade sides will play out of Crehan Park, while the other junior sides will be based at Wetherall Park.
Football NSW powerbrokers will inspect both facilities as part of the evaluation process on Friday.
Despite the Wolves' push to play out of JJ Kelly Park once an in-principle $3 million upgrade is complete in time for the 2014 season, South Coast are still counting the cost of their "gypsy"-like existence.
Long-serving director Martin Littler revealed the club would finally return a small surplus this season.
But its inability to secure a home was robbing the club of $80,000 when revenue from operating a canteen as well as ground hire and maintenance costs were taken into account.
"Without being able to get your own canteen, it probably costs us the best part of $50,000 a year," Littler said. "It's a big hole. People have put personal money in over the years. If they don't stop doing it and force something to happen we're always going to be hand-to-mouth."
The Wolves also remain without a major sponsor for next season.
The Crehan Park playing surface is in line for a $100,000 upgrade itself over the off-season which will drought-proof the pitch and bring it closer to NSW Premier League standards.
Littler said Wolves officials would be surprised if the club wasn't accepted into next year's competition, but warned a lack of a permanent home was stunting football's growth in the region.
He stressed the need for football in the Illawarra to find a permanent home - preferably an all-weather surface at JJ Kelly Park - in time for the 2014 season.
"We'd be pretty upset and pretty surprised if we missed out," he said.
"But at the end of the day we want to be a sustainable club - ourselves and the Stingrays. We need this ground for season 2014 to be truthful.
"It's the old bunker mentality. We feel like gypsies, which is the best way to describe it.
"We're both working very closely together to not only get a facility that helps us out, but can also cater to some of the Illawarra Premier League clubs.
FSC chief executive Bill Kostandas, also a Wolves director, said he hoped Football NSW would show leniency when assessing South Coast's playing infrastructure. Most applicants for the rejuvenated NSW Premier League included just one facility in their application.
"It's going to be pretty competitive," he said. "What we don't have in our favour is they want everyone playing on the one facility and we don't have that.
"That's why JJ Kelly will be ideal if it comes off. JJ Kelly is not only to benefit the Wolves - it's to benefit everyone.
"We'll be able to get tournaments down here in Wollongong and it derives economic benefit. We'd be able to host nationals and it's not just for the very elite - it's for the community as well."
Kostandas suggested Sutherland's artificial surface at Seymour Shaw Park was a perfect model for JJ Kelly Park, reaping in $200,000 in revenue annually from leasing arrangements with schools and others.