Former Central Coast Mariners captain Nick Montgomery is relishing a new role with Wollongong Wolves and has thrown his support behind the NPL NSW club's A-League ambitions.
The 35-year-old midfielder made his Wollongong debut in a 2-0 win over Rockdale City Suns at WIN Stadium on Sunday and was pleased with his performance after only meeting the rest of the Wolves squad at training the night before.
Having previously played at WIN Stadium while involved with the A-League All Stars squad of 2014, Montgomery believes it's "a real shame" the 23,000-capacity venue isn't being utilised for top tier football.
The Wolves - who were part of the NSL for the majority of its 28 seasons - have publically declared they want to be part of the A-League when it expands to 12 teams in the coming years.
"No doubt, [WIN Stadium is] worthy for A-League standard," Montgomery told Goal.
"For me, playing in the A-League for five years, the one thing it needs is a few more teams and I wouldn't have joined the Wolves if I didn't feel it was an ambitious place and somewhere that I'd like to help out any way I can."
Nick Montgomery, Central Coast Mariners
Montgomery announced his retirement from professional football on Friday night at the Mariners Medal presentation, with the former Sheffield United midfielder set to become Central Coast's Head of Football and Elite Performance.
He ends his A-League career with 116 appearances for the Mariners and an A-League champions medal from his first season in 2012-13.
"I've had a good career up to now and, you know, I could have played on in the A-League or gone to Asia for another season but a new role at the Mariners came up - a head of football role - and I just thought it's a good time to step down from the pro game on my own terms after having a good season," Montgomery said.
The Wolves have secured Montgomery's services for the final 13 rounds of the 2017 NPL NSW season, although the veteran midfielder reckons he has at least one more year of semi-pro football left in him beyond that.
Nick Montgomery, Wollongong Wolves (Pedro Garcia)
Having been impressed by the likes of ex-Leeds United youth player Patrick Antelmi and former Western Sydney Wanderers striker Josh Macdonald against Rockdale, Montgomery is looking forward to "mentoring young players".
"I just needed to get in there and provide a bit of leadership and talking to the boys on the field, and I felt I did that well yesterday," he said.
"The boys performed really well and worked hard for each other, and we got a 2-0 win, which was more than deserved."
Wollongong, who are coached by former Sydney FC defender Jacob Timpano, sit eighth in the NPL NSW table.