Wollongong Wolves monitoring Central Coast Mariners situation amid A-League push

Celebration: The Wolves won last year's NSW NPL title. Picture: Sylvia Liber
Celebration: The Wolves won last year's NSW NPL title. Picture: Sylvia Liber

The Wollongong Wolves would be ready to take on the Central Coast A-League licence if a buyer cannot be found, former Socceroo and NSW National Premier League coach Luke Wilkshire declared.

However, Wilkshire said he wants to see the league expand, rather than rely on the Mariners collapsing, for the Wolves to enter the competition.

A $4 million reportedly price tag has been put on the Mariners licence after owner Mike Charlesworth announced his intention to put them up for sale.

The Mercury understands the Wolves would be reluctant to meet that price tag, but would be open to holding discussions with Football Federation Australia if the Mariners could not be saved.

"Expanding the A-League should be the priority, not losing teams," Wilkshire said.

"So we want to be part of the competition and see the Mariners be successful as well.

"But the A-League has always been the goal, the Wolves are deserving of it and we want to make that step as a region and a club.

"There would have to be a business plan developed and look to attract backing and investment, that side of it needs to be worked on.

"But we've got it all there in terms of being a club, we've got history, tradition and a thriving football region.

"And we've been successful, winning the state and national title last year, so while we want to see the A-League get bigger, not smaller, we'd look at it."

The Mariners came into the inaugural A-League competition after the Wolves conceded they were in no position to launch into the new national league at the time.

However, Central Coast have struggled both on and off the field in recent times, and are last on the ladder this season.

The Wolves were eliminated from the last A-League expansion bidding race after a bitter territorial battle with the Southern Expansion model which included St George and Sutherland.

The licence was eventually given to Macarthur, who this week announced the signing of South Coast product and former English Premier League goalkeeper Adam Federici.

The Wolves are owned by Illawarra businessman Tory Lavalle, whose bid to take over NBL club the Illawarra Hawks in partnership with potential NBA star Lamelo Ball, was knocked back by the NBL.

Since missing out on the A-League bid, the Wolves - who won National Soccer League grand finals in 2000 and 2001 - have been focusing on being part of a national second division, as part of FFA plans to introduce promotion and relegation.

This story Wolves keen to take on Mariners' A-League licence first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.