In a major boost for the Wolves, last season's player of the year at the club, Banri Kanaizumi has re-committed his future to the team by re-signing for next season, which will be the first under new coach David Carney.
Despite a disappointing campaign last season which culminated in an underwhelming ninth-placed finish, Kanaizumi was the shining light at the back.
The Japanese international was deployed at centre-back for the majority of last season, but had spells at both left-back and right-back. He was deployed in the latter position for the Wolves last game of the season just gone, where he scored two goals in an entertaining 3-3 draw with Sutherland, which was former coach Luke Wilkshire's last game for the club.
Wolves coach Carney told the Mercury that he was incredibly happy to have re-signed Kanaizumi and said he would play a crucial role for the club in 2023.
"He's someone that we need at the back," he said.
"He's a very smart player. He's also a visa spot and to use one of your visa spots on a centre-back shows how good he is. He reads the game so well, he's very composed on the ball but he can also score goals at the other end like what we saw in the last game of the season where he scored two headers.
Carney added that he appreciated the versatility of Kanaizumi but he already had plans in his mind of where he will be deployed.
"He can play centre-back but he can also play centre-midfield as well," he said.
"This is good because he is good on the ball and is a smart player with his positioning and all that.
"He's versatile but his main position for me will be centre-back.
"[But] if injuries come along and we need to fill gaps then he can do that."
Kanaizumi first secured a move to the Wolves following a successful Illawarra Premier League stint with Corrimal in 2019.
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