Mind over matter: Wollongong Wolves’ five-step health guide for finals season


The Wollongong Wolves Football Club is leaving no stone unturned as the team looks to prioritise their health ahead of cementing a spot in the National Premier League (NPL) finals.

With last year’s flu season the largest since the 2009 pandemic year, the Wolves are actively promoting the benefits of keeping fit and healthy throughout the winter months. To ensure they remain at the top of their game this season, members of their senior squad are visiting Ochre Medical Centre Wollongong this week to receive their annual flu shots.

Chris Papakosmas, CEO of Wollongong Wolves FC, said: “All professional athletes make their health their number one priority, and we’re looking to make this a priority for our players – including our juniors. As we near the middle of the footy season – and come into the flu season – looking after the mental and physical health of our players is important. Even our fittest players are at risk of burning out if they don’t prioritise their health.”

“I think it’s fantastic that the Wolves are doing everything they can to look after the physical and emotional health of their players. It’s great being back home on the Illawarra and South Coast, where my football journey began as a junior all those years ago. I loved being part of the club, and I can see it making huge improvements – this is just one of them.”

 Wollongong Wolves provide their five tips for staying on top of their game this season: 

  1. Stay well hydrated at all times. It’s crucial to stay hydrated – both before and after physical exercise. While most athletes remember to stay hydrated during a training session, it’s just as important to keep the fluid intake up post training. The Wolves advises its players to always remain hydrated, to ensure that no nasty cramps or strains stop each player from reaching their long-term goals. 
  1. Get vaccinated. With the peak flu season typically occurring between June and September, the Wolves are making sure they get vaccinated early this season. This Thursday, the Wolves senior team players, including ex-Socceroo Luke Wilkshire, are getting their free flu jabs from Ochre Medical Centre Wollongong. To help support this initiative, the Wolves and Ochre Health are offering a 33% discount for all Wolves supporters yet to receive their flu shots.
  1. Practice good hygiene, even if you’ve got the flu shot. Getting vaccinated doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get the flu, although it greatly reduces the risk. The Wolves advise good hygiene practices even if you’ve been vaccinated, such as washing your hands regularly before handling foot and avoid sharing towels, plates, cups and cutlery – particularly when you’re around fellow team members. This can stop the spread of infection to other vulnerable groups, particularly younger players who might be run down after weeks of intense training. 
  1. Take time out for yourself. The Wolves understand the importance of taking time away from football to stay refreshed and energised. During peak season, they recommend their players partake in hobbies to clear their minds. Whether it’s grabbing a book or going to Port Kembla beach, allowing the body and mind to step away from football is what allows every top athlete to remain revitalised and refreshed during their games. 
  2. What you do off the field impacts on your performance on the field. The Wolves are avid supporters of football, simply because they love it. However, in order for their players to keep performing at their best, they encourage them to place special emphasis on three key things: nutrition, training and sleep. If these are prioritised, it significantly reduces the athletes’ risk of injury and helps them to stay healthy throughout the winter months.



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