The FFA Cup provides the kind of carrot clubs can’t ignore.
It’s been that way for a few seasons now and this year it will be no different for all of us at the Wollongong Wolves.
Given the success we have had in the past in the tournament – including playing A-League heavyweights Sydney FC in the round-of-32 last year – it’s always a goal now to go on a Cup run year in, year out.
With the chance to potentially meet A-League teams and play on national TV, it truly provides an opportunity unlike any other for clubs all over the country.
We are pretty keen to experience that again in 2017, however there is a long, long way to go before we get to that stage. On Wednesday night, we will begin our latest Cup campaign against Sutherland Sharks.
It will undoubtedly be one of the toughest beginnings we have ever had to the tournament as NSW NPL Men’s 1 clubs rarely face-off this early in the competition.
Heading into the match, Sutherland have really struggled to start the league season and are yet to pick up a point through five rounds.
But, I am a firm believer that form goes out of the window in Cup games. The knockout format of the Cup always makes for tough competition, regardless of who you are playing so I know we will have to be at our best again if we want to progress.
Elsewhere, It’s been awesome to see the region’s Illawarra Premier League clubs doing well in the early rounds of the competition again.
Albion Park White Eagles, Bulli, Picton Rangers, Wollongong United and Kemblawarra Fury have again highlighted just how strong the local competition is with big wins in their first two matches.
Bulli claimed what is probably the biggest scalp of the local contingent so far with a penalty shoot-out win over NSW National Premier League Men’s 2 team Macarthur Rams last week while most of the others have been able to progress in pretty convincing fashion.
Of course tougher tests do lie ahead for all five clubs.
But, there is no doubt in my mind they will continue to cause clubs problems regardless of what competition they play in. If all goes well in our match with Sutherland, and the rounds that follow, it’s very possible that we could run into a couple of the IPL clubs later in the draw as well.