Wednesday, 24 December 2003 12:00 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
This Saturday the John Turner coached Wollongong Wolves come to Bob Jane Stadium in what looms to be an intriguing encounter.
After a somewhat rollercoaster start to the season Turner’s men have got their act together and gone unbeaten in their last 5 games. Led by Nigerian import Chimaobi Nwaogazi – who has bagged a goal in each of his last 5 games – the Wolves are currently on a steady rise up the NSL standings.
Conversely, South Melbourne continued their run of impressive results last week with a hard fought 0-1 victory over Newcastle United. With results favouring the home side, South Melbourne has extended their lead atop the NSL ladder; the Lakesiders now find themselves 4 points clear from their nearest rivals Perth.
With limited resources at his disposal Coach Turner has like many NSL coaches, managed to put together a highly competitive outfit on a shoestring budget. In goalkeeper Andrew Crews, the Wolves have a proven shot-stopper; Ben Blake, Shane Lyons and Nahuel Arrarte add further NSL experience to the Wolves make-up which is well complemented by the class of Captain and Striker Stuart Young. Young is in the rare position of having seen the Wolves go from dual NSL champions to their current battling predicament but has managed to rediscover some of his best form – after a disappointing campaign last season – with 4 goals so far this term.
Conversely, South coach Stuart Munro has a plethora of selection options all over the park. With the recent return of Young Socceroo duo Massimo Murdocca and Vince Lia, Munro has even further choice at his disposal.
Midfield pairing Marcus Stergiopoulos and Michael Panopoulos have been superb all season and provide South with adequate steel and flair in the centre of the park. Striking-duo Michael Curcija and Captain Vaughn Coveny have combined for a total of 18 goals between them. Add to their proven goal getting instincts the intuitive and dangerous roaming capabilities of wide attackers Con Boutsianis and Scott Tunbridge and it becomes clear that South have many avenues to goal. A positive result for the home side beckons.