A-league expansion hopefuls Wollongong Wolves welcome Canberra's bid

A-league expansion hopefuls Wollongong Wolves welcome Canberra's bid

The Wollongong Wolves are adamant they can maintain a positive relationship with Canberra's soccer community, despite both cities bidding for an A-League expansion licence.

Wollongong and Canberra were among 15 bid teams who submitted an expression of interest to Football Federation Australia last month.

Wolves boss Chris Papakosmas believes they'll form a fierce rivalry with Canberra in the A-League one day.

Wolves boss Chris Papakosmas believes they'll form a fierce rivalry with Canberra in the A-League one day. Credit:Sylvia Liber

The bids will be cut to between four and six teams on Monday and the shortlisted sides then have two months to submit their final application.


The FFA will announce its two expansion teams on October 31 and those teams will join the A-League for the 2019-20 season.


The Wolves already have a footprint in Canberra through their pathways partnership with Belconnen United.

It's extremely unlikely Canberra and Wollongong will be the two expansion teams named later this year, but Wolves boss Chris Papakosmas believes whatever happens it will be a positive outcome for Canberra.

"It doesn't mean we won't be continuing our relationship [with Belconnen] if Canberra get an A-League team," Papakosmas said.

"But if Canberra aren’t successful this time they have a defacto team in the A-League because we'll have a presence right across this area and there will be a pathway there through Belconnen.

"If it's us and Canberra then Belco will have the perfect situation of an A-League team in their back yard and a relationship with an A-League club up the road. It's a win win."

"The Wolves bid or the Canberra bid, one or the other you'd like to think [will be successful] and I think eventually both teams will be in the national competition.

"I can see a great rivalry developing down the track when we play Canberra."


The Wolves were in Canberra last week as part of their pathways program with Belconnen and brought Belgium top flight coach Eric Reenaers to host a clinic.

Reenaers was in Australia as a guest of the Wolves and gave a presentation to Belconnen coaches, before putting the under-13 and under-16 teams through their paces.

"From our perspective the relationship with us and Belco has just been going from strength to strength," Papakosmas said.

"They've been really proactive in their relationship with us and we've been trying to put on initiatives and partnerships that will benefit the program and the kids.

"A classic example is Eric, he's a renowned youth development development coach and for a country [Belgium] with 11 million people to be ranked three in the world, they're doing something right.

"We’ve only got him for a week and one of those days was assigned to Belconnen because we see our partnership with them as valuable and long term."

Eamonn Tiernan is a sports reporter with The Canberra Times

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