Wollongong Wolves have taken a massive step towards inclusion in Football Australia's proposed 'National Second Tier' competition after formally submitting their expression of interest to the organisation.
Since his appointment in early 2022, chief executive Strebre Delovski - along with the backroom staff of the club - have made it their goal to return the Wolves back to the national stage.
In October last year, the club met with approximately 30 other clubs in a meeting held by the Association of Australian Football Clubs, the organisation that represents the clubs involved in the process of getting a 'National Second Tier' up-and-running in Australia.
It is unsure how long it will take before promotion and relegation with the A-League would be installed, with the AAFC looking to ensure financial stability of the new clubs entering the new competition.
Delovski told the Mercury that he was confident the Wolves had done everything they could to be considered for the 'National Second Tier'.
"It is exciting to announce that we have officially submitted an expression of interest to join the proposed 'National Second Tier'," he said,
"In terms of our confidence of ultimate entry, we have been participating in this process for more than two years. We are confident that we meet the criteria that has been released and that we have the capacity to compete in the league and represent our region successfully.
"Our rich 40 year history in Australian football is well documented. The club has participated and represented the Illawarra region at the highest level for many years. This is a well established football region with large participation rates.
"It deserves representation at the next level to ensure that our juniors and young players have a local pathway to elite football. In addition, the football community has been crying out for a local team to play at a higher level. The desire is there across the board to make this a viable going concern."
Delovski added that the club had received more in depth information about what the competition would look like.
"We understand that there will be no promotion and relegation into the A-League in the first instance however it is anticipated that this will occur between the National Second Tier and the National Premier Leagues. It is critical that the National Second Tier becomes a self sustainable and financially viable home and away style competition."
On the field in the NPL NSW, the Wolves will be looking to pick up a second victory of the season when they take on the Wanderers on Sunday in Wollongong.
The Wolves were held to a one-all draw against the Bulls last Saturday and will be looking to climb the ladder in their fifth match of the season.
Coach David Carney will be looking to attackers Mirza Muratovic, Takumi Ofuka, Jake Trew and Alex Masciovecchio to fill the void of their captain Lachlan Scott, who will be out for a number of weeks due to a hamstring injury he suffered during the side's 4-0 loss to Marconi.
Currently sitting in ninth - the Wolves can jump as high as fifth with a win against Western Sydney on Sunday. Kick-off is at 5pm.
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