The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers will bring Hyundai A-League football to Coffs Harbour for the first time with a pre-season match to accompany a week-long training camp in the region.Having hosted the Matildas, the Socceroos and State Cup Finals previously, the final piece of the football puzzle will be completed for Coffs Harbour when the Red & Black hosts rivals Central Coast Mariners at C.ex Coffs International Stadium on Friday 7 August.
The match will see Tony Popovic put the finishing touches on his squad in preparation for the Wanderers’ Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 game four days later in Penrith.
Having spent a week in Coffs Harbour last season during the Hyundai A-League January break, the Wanderers have returned to get the most out of their pre-season as they look to launch themselves back into finals contention this season.
Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas said that building key regional relationships is of strategic importance to the growth of the Club.
“We look forward to bringing our pre-season to Coffs Harbour and hosting a game with the support of the good people from Coffs Harbour City Council and North Coast Football,” said Tsatsimas.
“The Wanderers and the Mariners have a strong rivalry which will give fans on the north coast both a spectacle and an avenue to engage with our players and the Club.”
Coffs Harbour City Councillor Mark Sultana said the opportunity to host the Wanderers was a boon for the region and the strong local football community.
“On behalf of the Coffs Harbour City Council we look forward to welcoming Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners in what we hope will be the first of many events of this kind in the region, “ said Councillor Sultana.
“Football is by far the largest participation sport on the mid north coast, especially in Coffs Harbour, and we are very excited to have two great teams play in front of what will no doubt be a very passionate crowd. I have no doubt that the local community is going to get behind this match in a big way.
“We urge all supporters to make the trip to Coffs Harbour for this special event and to enjoy our wonderful city.”
Jodie Evans, Director of Sales and Marketing at Novotel Pacific Bay Resort Coffs Harbour where the team will stay for the duration of the week long training camp, said they look forward to hosting the Wanderers for the second time this year.
“We have a strong relationship with the Wanderers and we look forward to continue building that relationship during their time here and helping to assist the development of football here on the north coast,” said Ms Evans.
“The Wanderers will again make use of our elite training facility and we look forward to welcoming them this August.”
North Coast Football Board Director Rick Hall said that today’s announcement was a massive boost for the game on the north coast.
“We’re thrilled that the A-League is finally coming to Coffs Harbour and can’t wait for the game,” said Mr Hall.
“We were always confident the Wanderers would appreciate the facilities at Pacific Bay Resort and now the thousands of players and supporters will enjoy this sensational game on the NSW north coast at the exceptional and elite C.E.X International Stadium. The football community will get to show their appreciation to the players. You can expect a large crowd.
“These events will coincide with the annual Coffs Cup on Thursday from midday on the 6th August making it a great long weekend to travel.”
A further pre-season match has also been announced with the Wanderers taking on Mt Druitt Town Rangers at Popondetta Park, Emerton on Thursday 30 July. Kick-off is at 7:30pm.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers, Popondetta Park, 7:30pm Thursday 30 July
Central Coast Mariners, C.ex Coffs International Stadium, 7:00pm Friday 7 August
Brisbane Roar, Pepper Stadium, 7:30pm Tuesday 11 August (FFA Cup)