The Wollongong Wolves have fired a warning shot at their NSW National Premier League rivals in 2021.
In their first hit-out of the year, the Wolves recorded a 4-0 win over A-League side Wellington Phoenix in a behind-closed-doors friendly at WIN Stadium on Sunday.
The Mercury understands the Phoenix's starting side included star strikers Tomer Hemed and David Ball, captain Ulises Davila and first-choice goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.
The game was divided into three 45-minute sessions. Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire said his top side played the first two, while the club's under-20s played the last session - and he liked what he saw.
"It was good to get 45 minutes into the legs of the boys. We've been working on our fitness levels and things we want do, and it was good to see some of that come on to the football pitch," he said.
"I'm very pleased with the way they held themselves and it's always good to get a result and build that winning habit. I think, in general, everyone did well. It was pleasing to see the attitude and application, and some of the things we've been working on coming into match day."
Wilkshire said it was great for some of the younger Wolves to play against A-League level players.
"It's a great opportunity for them to measure themselves against professionals," he said. "There was obviously some nerves there from some of the boys and there's still a lot of room for improvement. But I think they'll definitely take confidence from that.
"But it's a great performance and result, and we now go on to prepare to play the Central Coast Mariners NPL side on Wednesday at Albert Butler [Park]."
We've been working on our fitness levels and things we want do, and it was good to see some of that come on to the football pitch.- Luke Wilkshire