March 4, 2024




At the first home games in 2024, the Wollongong Wolves bounced back in time added on to earn a point. The home team had to come from a goal behind and with perseverance and resolve to draw with St. George City. The Wolves achieved a point for the first time, as in the previous season, the opposition earned double wins. Banri Kanaizumi (Wolves) and Paolo Mitry (St. G) were the goal achievers in today’s game for their respective teams.

Very hot conditions prevailed at Butler Park for this Round 3 clash which necessitated drinks break in each half. St. George City kicked off the proceedings, with the home team running towards the southern end of the ground.

St. George made the early running and fifty seconds into this encounter, the Wolves conceded a free kick just outside the box. Louis Khoury took the kick only for it to be thwarted by the Wolves’ defensive wall. The away team a few minutes on, threatened again, and only the Wolves defensive numbers kept them at bay.

The Wolves’ Chris McStay, the engine in midfield, hit the ball down the right for Jack Trew to run on to, only to be up ended as he tried to gain advantage for a first foray. A few minutes later, a McStay corner kick put some pressure on the opposition defence to keep them honest.

The Wolves Takumi Ofuka and City’s Presley Ortiz had shots that failed to elicit joy and Andre Takami on the left side manoeuvred up field on the right leaving players in his wake. His run was a mesmerising one, but it ended all in vain. Harrison Buesnell was strong in defence with his timely interceptions and clearance passing. He produced a header in an attacking vein

Ten minutes, the Wolves’ Jack Trew had a good attempt to draw first blood. The striker got in behind to gather a Kanaizumi pinpoint over the top pass to ultimately produce a stinging shot which struck the left post.

A McStay corner kick was sent to the far post and Kanaizumi jumped high only for his header to go over. This was just a rehearsal for later.

Much of the half, St. George had more than a fair share of possession but could not convert this into goals, while the Wolves had more shots with less possession. Some moments were a bit scrappy though a smooth passing movement with involvement by McStay, Samuel Riak and Yagoub Mustafa deserve a better result than what eventuated. A Mustafa shot was snuffed out.

At the other end, Kosta Petratos tested the Wolves custodian Vedran Janjetovic, the former Sydney F.C. and Western Sydney Wanderers’ gloveman, but he was perfectly positioned to dive low to deny this attempt.

Three corner kicks in succession by St. George failed to hit paydirt.

As the half time whistle went, neither team had broken the deadlock and so it was all to play for in the second half.

As the second stanza began, City burst forward with Kosta Petratos, only for the ball to slew off his foot at the crucial moment. A McStay free kick flashed past the left post causing some discomfort in the defence. A later, a McStay shot was hit with power and direction, only for the ball to hit a player on its trajectory.

Trew and Lachlan traded headers in the St. George goal area, while neither could land a telling blow, but at least consternation was caused in the St. George defence.

After Buesnel sent a cross in from the left over to the other side, Dylan Ryan headed it down to Scot and he scooped his goal attempt over the bar.

Maki Petratos hit the ball skyward and substitute Jason Romero attempted a shot on goal that was off target with Janjetovic mopping up.

However, in the eighty third minute, St. George finally struck home to gain the advantage with not many minutes remaining. Romero worked his way into the box to the right of goal with Dylan Ryan in pursuit. He moved in close and shot. The ball rebounded high off Kanaizumi and Dominic Cox reached the high ball first to head back. Substitute Mitry chested it down and fired in his angled shot. It traversed to the far post to beat Janjetovic’s outstretched hand and nestle in the net.

Mitry went looking for his brace but being through on goal he got his feet in a tangle and some moments on, Janjetovic kept the ball from entering his domain cleverly with his feet to deny St. George a second goal.

As the minutes elapsed, the Wolves were endeavouring to find a way through and restore parity. The standard time of ninety minutes had elapsed, and St. George conceded a free kick wide on the right in the four minutes of time added on.  All but two St. George players were positioned in the crowded penalty area with a host of Wolves’ players there also, desperate to score.  McStay took the free kick. With his right foot, he swept a high ball into the area to the far post where Kanaizumi was lurking. He subsequently rose above Mitry to guide the ball home with his header to the far side of the goal and gain his team a late equaliser.

A St. George free kick outside the penalty arc looked to be St. George’s final chance of a winner. Romero, who had scored a sixteen-goal tally for APIA in the previous two seasons, stood over the ball. He shot and he was to be disappointed as it flew high.

Both teams had their chances with the Wolves having a fraction more but a point shared was deserved. The Wolves kept at it despite being behind on the scoreboard and showed resilience and a never say die attitude to take an initial point off St. George City. St. George had a late lead but could not close out the match.

Wolves’ experienced custodian Vedran Janjetovic – ‘I’m trying to do my best and maintaining what I have left. It has not been easy but it’s been good.….(With their goal) I could not see anything and I think it took a bit of a deflection at the end but that’s the way the game goes I guess. We did not take our chances in the first half. We had a lot and we should have capitalized a little bit more but it was a hot day and tough conditions ….. it’s a good bunch of boys, we train hard during the week…but we got a draw after being 1-0 down. We should have won, I think we were the dominant team.’



Banri Kanaizumi 90+1

ST.GEORGE CITY…………..………,,..1

Paolo Mitry 83’



3.00 p.m. kick off


Coach: David Carney

20.Vedran Janjetovic GK 2.Harrison Buesnel 4.Dylan Ryan 5.Banri Kanaizumi, 6.Samuel Riak (27.Damon Gray 85’)  7.Takumi Ofuka, 8.Andre Takami 9.Jake Trew (11.Sebastian Hernandez 70’ ) 10.Yagoub Mustafa  (25.Alex Masciovecchio 60’) 24.Lachlan Scott (capt.) 88. Christopher McStay

Substitutes Not Used: 13.Oliver Yates RGK  15.Dax Kelly

Yellow Cards: Chris McStay 8’

Red Cards: nil


Coach: Mirko Jurilj

1.Jack Kenny 2.Cameron Fong 3.Joshua Hong  4.Solomon-Johnn Monohan-Vaiika 5.Fumoto Kamada 6.Tarik Ercan (Capt.) 11. Kosta Petratos, 25. Brodie Clarkson, 30. Presley Ortiz (10.Jason Romero 62’)   33. Louis Khoury (9.Yerasimakis Petratos 62’)  99. Matthew Keremelevski (Dominic Cox 37’)

Subs. Not used: 13.Joseph Knowles 19.Jesse Photi

Yellow Cards: Presley Ortiz 12’   Louis Khoury 40’   Joshua Hogg 85’

Red Cards: nil

Referee: Craig Fisher

Assistant Referees: Aaron Bloch and Oliver Leanfore

Fourth Official: James Makris

By Malcolm Rowney