Wollongong Wolves Crowned National Premier Leagues (NPL) 2019 Champions

The Wollongong Wolves are the National Premier Leagues (NPL) 2019 Champions after they defeated Lions FC 4:3 at Albert Butler Park today.

In addition to being crowned the NPL Champions, the Wollongong Wolves will also receive automatic entry into the FFA Cup 2020 Final Rounds.

Lions FC took the lead in the 13th minute when Shaun Carlos headed home from an Andy Thompson corner.

Thomas James equalised from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute after Harry Callahan was fouled in the box by the Lions FC captain, Matija Simic.

The Wollongong Wolves took the lead in the 80th minute when Takeru Okada tapped in from inside the 6-yard box but Lions FC substitute, Marek Madle, equalised four minutes later which then pushed the match into extra time.

After scores remained level for the first period of extra time, Bul Juach restored the Wolves lead with a headed goal from a Taylor McDonald cross in the 109th minute which gave his team the advantage going into the closing 10 minutes of the match. Thomas James sealed the result for the Wolves in the 116th minute when he blasted his right-footed shoot into the roof of the net from close range and complete his brace. The Lions gave the Wolves a late scare when they pulled a goal back from the penalty spot through Joe Duckworth in the 119th minute, but the Wolves held on for the remainder of the match to secure their first NPL Championship.

Harry Callahan from the Wollongong Wolves took out the prestigious John Kosmina Medal for being the player of the NPL 2019 Grand Final which was presented by former Socceroo and NSL & Hyundai A-League Champion Alvin Ceccoli.

The NPL 2019 Finals Series brings together the eight teams who finished top of their respective NPL standings at the end of their regular seasons to determine Australia’s best NPL side.

2019 marks the seventh edition of the NPL Finals Series, which was won last year by South Australian club Campbelltown City SC. Sydney United 58 FC won the inaugural competition in 2013 and in 2016, while MetroStars SC from South Australia (2014), Blacktown City FC from New South Wales (2015) and Heidelberg United FC from Victoria (2017) have also been crowned Champions of the series in the past.