The opening round of any season brings hope and expectation to all concerned. It is important to have the team off to good start. An opening win breeds confidence and sets the team up for early points to keep up with the leaders. Supporters will see new players and wonder how they will gel with their new teammates. They will also want to see whether the team might have the quality in order to challenge for honours at season’s end. There may be a big name signing, the name of which will bring in more supporters. One only has to see Sydney F.C.’s signing of Italian superstar, Alessandro Del Piero to understand how this works at the top of the football pyramid. The Wolves tried this tact in the past with guest English international players, Paul Mariner and Trevor Francis plus Scotland’s Alan Brazil, in the team of 1988.
Since 1981, the opening round of each year has brought up varied results as one might expect for the Wolves. There have been 33 opening round matches with seven victories, nine draws and sixteen defeats, with some involving many goals and some ending in scoreless stalemates. Does a good start show any correlation with honours winning teams or conversely does a bad start indicate a bad season? In the five championship or premiership years there have been three wins and two draws. Correspondingly, when the team has finished at the foot of the table (this has occurred 3 times -1984, 2002/03 and 2013), there have been two 4-0 drubbings and one score draw. Make of these statistics what you will.
The best result was 3-1, which occurred on two occasions. The very first game against Sydney Olympic was one and the second was seven years later. Jim McBreen and a Clive Campbell brace broke Olympics’ spirit while Brazil, Randall Easthorpe and Rade Stefanovki scored versus St. George, a team that we will re-new opposition with this year.
The worst result was 4-0 and it eventuated on three occasions. It was in 1984 at Bruce Stadium when the opponents Canberra City inflicted this ignominy. In the 1998/99 season, the Wolves capitulated against Carlton. This was equaled in 2013 when Sutherland Sharks put the cleaners through the team.
The score line that appeared the most was 0-0 (4 times), followed by 3-1 and 1-4 (3 times). Will any of these be the score line at the end of ninety on Sunday?
The following three games may show how supporters may be feeling after Sunday’s result – Satisfaction, disappointment or elation or a combination of any.
1993. Score – 3-1
This season opener was at Brandon Park and Ollerenshaw, Bazdaric and Surjan impressed on their debuts. White, scored first to counteract the opposition’s goal, on 54 minutes. White ran onto an Ollerenshaw pass to score his brace and Ollerenshaw goaled later. Yankos and O’Shea anchored the defence solidly. On the field the Wolves were: Brett Hughes, Mike O’Shea, Charlie Yankos, Tom Bazdaric, Martin Bourke, Matthew Horsley, Paul McFadden, Anthony Surjan, Richard Lloyd, Dale White and Scott Ollerenshaw. Sasho Dimoshi and Donal O’Brien were subs. for Lloyd and White respectively.
This was a good start in any one’s book and supporters may have been elated with how the team disposed of the opposition.
2000/01. Score -1-1
This match was played at WIN Stadium with the Wolves goal emanating from the spot. Young’s penalty kick in the 53rd minute was the equalizer, three minutes after the adversaries, Perth Glory, had goaled. Twice Petrovski had hit the goal frame with a seemingly goal bound efforts and following a foul on Chipperfield in the box, another penalty kick was forthcoming. However, Young’s spot kick this time was not as effective as his first and the ‘keeper easily saved.
The Wolves were: Daniel Beltrame, George Souris, David Cervinski, Matthew Horsley, Paul Reid, Saso Petrovski, Stuart Young, Scott Chipperfield, David Huxley, Ben Blake, Dino Menillo.
Supporters may have vacated the ground with disappointment after squandering some chances but ultimately will have been satisfied that at least the team did not lose.
2012. Score - 2-3
The opponent was Bonnyrigg White Eagles and it was a close game throughout. Twice the Wolves clawed back following Bonnyrigg’s scoring efforts. At Crehan Park, Bonnyrigg skipped out to a lead following a penalty kick, which was duly converted. The Wolves received one themselves and Picciolini netted. Another penalty kick ensued and Bonnyrigg scored through the same player. Martinoski goaled after he connected with a Simonoski cross. A minute later the Eagles scored the winner. A Picciolini shot crashed against bar late in the match denying the home team a draw. However, giving away two penalties was indeed costly.
The line-up was – Daniel Collison, Jack Keating, Michael Robinson, Jacob Timpano, Nick Littler, Cameron Littler, Chris Nathaniel, Mark Picciolini, John Martinoski, Sean Robertson and J Savor. Peter Simonoski, Fabian Iacovelli and Joseph Lavalle came on as substitutes.
Losing may have disappointed supporters at the game’s conclusion. However, the never say die attitude was satisfying.
As it stands, the history of the Wolves dictates that there is 21% chance for a win, 27% for a draw and 52% for a loss. Does this really mean anything at all? In which percentage band will Sunday’s result fall? What will be the score?
Enjoy the opening round.
By Malcolm Rowney