Brought in and out of the lineup for the Wolves so far in their first seven games of the season, Alex Masciovecchio is proving to coach David Carney that he should be starting every week.
The Unanderra junior produced a goal of the season contender to give the Wolves the lead against St George on Saturday evening. It was not to be for Carney's men in the end however, with Wollongong on the wrong side of an eight goal thriller against City.
Result aside, Masciovecchio proved with his goal in the 12th minute of the contest that he is the exact player that epitomises the way Carney wants his side to play. Fast, direct and not giving the opposition defence time to think.
And after starting less than half of the games, Masciovecchio made himself the side's leading goal scorer so far in 2023.
All signs lead towards Masciovecchio getting a consecutive start in the side when the Wolves come up against the Mariners in Wollongong this Sunday.
But for the 21-year-old, he will continue to do his best in whatever role the team needs him to.
"Getting a start in any game is nice. I've picked up a few in the last few weeks which is good," Masciovecchio said.
"I was enjoying myself out there [against St George]. I was finding a bit of space, more so in the first half. The ball came to me, I was wide and Marcus Beattie made the run around me which helped keep the left-back in two minds. I had a pocket on the inside so I stepped in there and after skipping past a couple of defenders I noticed they weren't pressing me and I just hit the ball with the outside of my foot and it went in.
After a positive start to the campaign with a 2-2 draw against the still unbeaten APIA and a 3-0 win versus the Sharks in their first two games, the Wolves have suffered losses to Marconi, Rockdale and St George, meaning they have only won one in their last five.
A massive overhaul of the squad and injuries to key men such as captain Lachlan Scott and 'best left-back in the league' according to Carney Walter Scott are some of the main reasons as to why there has been a lack of consistency of late.
These reasons are not being used as excuses by the team according the Masciovecchio, who knows the side needs to be better at battening down the hatches when the side takes the lead in a game.
Masciovecchio put the side 1-0 up in the contest but just nine minutes later, St George equalised from the penalty spot. Then it was Jake Trew's turn to score - putting the Wolves into the lead once more - but just 60 seconds later, City made the game 2-2.
St George then went 4-2 up early in the second half before stand-in captain Banri Kanaizumi rose highest from a corner in the 51st minute to bring the score back to 4-3.
The home side put the game to bed however through a Franco Maya spot-kick in the 87th minute.
"Attacking wise we did well. The second half we were a lot better but we just didn't put our chances away," Masciovecchio added.
"The biggest thing it comes down to is when you score a goal, the next five minutes are crucial. Against St George we let that slip from our minds. We weren't as compact right after we scored our goals.
"We scored three and if you're scoring three you should win the game," he added.
The winger added the Wolves were looking to get back in the winners circle on Sunday.
"Home games are the most important. Getting a win in front of the home fans is what they want and it's what we want because they are coming out to support us every week that we're there. So we can give back to them by winning the three points."
The Wolves host the Mariners before playing four of five games away from home in April in what will be a testing month for the side.
Sunday's kickoff against Central Coast is 3pm.
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