In a momentous off-season move, Wagga City Wanderers have formally abandoned the NSW Football State League and will ply their trade in Canberra’s National Premier League competition next season.
The Daily Advertiser was advised on Thursday afternoon by Wanderers director of football Brendan Flanagan that the club had successfully applied to join the Canberra league after securing an exit from the State League.
The transition was kept well under wraps after the club’s fourth season, which produced just two wins and two draws in the senior division, and will see the men join the newly formed women’s sides under the umbrella of Capital Football.
It’s arguably the biggest move in Wanderers’ short history and Flanagan was thrilled to finally share the news.
“It’s something we’ve had in the works for a while now but these things take time to work out, particularly between the shift from Football NSW to Capital Football,” Flanagan said.
“We’ve been looking at moving to Canberra in the past and it’s just great that it’s finally come through.
“Obviously it’s worked out really well with the women being entered into the NPL earlier in the year but that process was much easier as they didn’t have a competition prior to that one.
“This has taken time and it’s a terrific result for our club.”
Flanagan cited improved schedules and reduced travel distance as a major benefit of transitioning into the NPL but refuted suggestions the shift would result in easier contests for the Wanderers senior side.
“Travel’s definitely going to be easier with a Canberra based competition, especially for our juniors.”
“It’s hard for kids in under 12s to go back and forth to Sydney for regular games, so I think this will particularly help with our junior ranks.
“With regards to the competition itself, it might be easier to a degree but it’s also a yes and no because there’s really strong sides in the NPL that we’ll be coming up against.
“Yes, there were some very good State League teams but some of those Canberra clubs would give the best Sydney teams a run for their money, so we’ll still have some very strong opposition.
“That’s really important for us – we want to be playing strong sides and we want to improve as a club.”
Though there’s still plenty of logistics to work out, the announcement coincides nicely with the naming of Wanderers’ SAP program juniors for 2019.
A total 130 junior soccer stars – 94 boys and 36 girls – will begin their journey next week after being selected in the Wanderers development pathway.
Junior squad training will commence on Friday, November 23 at 5:30pm down at Gissing Oval.