FFA Cup Round 7 Preview

Round 6 is officially done and dusted, and we are all caught up in the cup ready for the final preliminary round.

The winners of the round 7 matches progress to the round of 32 of the cup (as well as the finals of the Waratah cup), where they will join Sydney United 58 as the NSW member federation clubs.

 

APIA Leichardt Tigers v SD Raiders – Tuesday 30 May – 7.30pm – Lambert Park

SD Raiders (NPL 3)

The story of SD Raiders is quite remarkable. Playing State League last season and now they’re 1 game away from playing in a national tournament. SD Raiders started their journey in round 3 defeating fellow NPL 3 side Balmain Tigers by a convincing 5-1.

Following that in round 4 they defeated Quakers Hill Juniors SC 8-0 followed by a close 3-2 game against NPL 2 outfit St George FC. Finally in round 6 they again defeated an NPL 2 side in Mounties Wanderers 3-1.

It’s safe to say that SD Raiders are a side capable of great things, and it is very possible for them to push APIA all the way, however it will be an uphill battle as they have to travel to Lambert Park

APIA Leichardt Tigers (NPL 1)

Currently leading the way in the NSW NPL, APIA are a formidable side and clear favourites to go through to the round of 32, however as shown above it won’t be a walk in the park for them.

Joining the competition in round 4, APIA first defeated Leichardt Saints SFC 3-0 before disposing of Killarney Districts SC 4-0. In round 6 they faced their first real challenge against fellow NPL side Bonnyrigg White Eagles, who they downed 2-0.

It is safe to say that they have had an easy run into the final round, their only test being Bonnyrigg, but even with that Bonnyrigg are currently sitting 10th with only 2 wins.

This game will go down to the wire and don’t be surprised to see this game go into extra time as SD Raiders give it everything they’ve got, whilst APIA may get overconfident and displaced.

 

Bulli FC v Blacktown City FC – Wednesday 31 May – 7.30pm – Balls Paddock

Bulli FC (IPL)

Bulli are currently sitting outright 1st in the Illawarra Premier League, which is arguably on par in terms of quality as the NPL 2 competition, and is shown by 2 teams from the comp making it round 7 and 5 made it to round 6. It is important to note that Bulli are yet to lose in the IPL and in fact have only drawn 1 game along the way.

Bulli had an almost perfect cup run last season, going out in round 6 losing to Wollongong Wolves 2-1 in what was a thrilling encounter. This year they look to better their performance and make history as they first side outside of the NPL system to make the round of 32 from NSW.

Bulli started their campaign quickly, defeating Sydney CBD FC 5-0 away in round 3 before a tough encounter with Macarthur Rams. This game ended 2-2 with Bulli just edging out the NPL 2 side 5-4 on penalties. A trip to face North Epping Rangers SC was easily accounted for winning 4-1 before defeating State League team Nepean FC 2-1 in round 6.

Blacktown City (NPL 1)

Blacktown are currently joint NPL table leaders with APIA, behind only on goal difference. They have been a strong side through the competition so far, only losing 1 game this season.

Blacktown City have had a fairly easy cup run defeating Kirrawee Kangaroos 6-0 in round 4 before beating Lokomotiv Cove FC 2-0. The only test they have faced so far was Mt Druitt Town Rangers from NPL 2 in round 6 which finished 2-1.

Bulli are clearly the underdogs here but i’m not entirely convinced they should be. Both teams are leading their respective competitions, however Blacktown may have their attention turned towards the NPL competition where they are neck and neck with APIA. As is the case with the game above, expect a tight contest and the possibility of extra time to separate these two sides.

 

Rockdale City Suns FC v Hakoah Sydney City East FC – Wednesday 31 May – 7.30pm – Ilinden Sports Centre

Rockdale City Suns FC (NPL 1)

Rockdale this season have been solid in the NPL, currently sitting in 5th place, although only 4 points behind the leaders. Goalkeeper Ante Covic and striker Jordan Figon have been instrumental to their current success.

Rockdale have had a decent run in so far, dispatching of State League side Hurstville ZFC 4-1 in round 4 and NPL 3 side Western NSW Mariners 4-0 in round 5. Their true test came against Marconi Stallions where they fought back from 1-0 down to win 4-2 at full time.

So whilst Rockdale haven’t had an easy run as Blacktown or APIA, they have scored 12 goals in the process, all against league sides. Expect more goals to come in the game from the team.

Hakoah Sydney City East FC (NPL 1)

Surprising everyone so far in the NPL, Hakoah are sitting 7th on 18 points, only 2 wins away from the leaders.

Hakoah first defeated NPL 3 side Inter City Lions SC 6-1 after extra time in round 4, before edging out Manly on penalties 4-2 in round 5. Hakoah seem to have a love affair with playing the beautiful game as they once again went to extra time and penalties against IPL team Albion Park White Eagles. The game was 1-1 at HT, 2-2 at FT and 3-3 AET. Talk about a struggle.

With a difficult run in, with lower teams pushing them all the way Hakoah will struggle against a seasoned Rockdale City Suns side. Add in the difficult league fixtures coming up and Hakoah have their work cut out for them if they want to reach the round of 32. However I would expect a convincing win from Rockdale this game, with no extra time for Hakoah this game.

 

Hills Brumbies FC v Kemblawarra Dapto Fury FC – Wednesday 31 May – 7.30pm – Russell Reserve

Hills Brumbies FC (NPL 2)

Currently sitting mid table in NPL 2, Brumbies have had a mixed season so far. 5 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses sees them 9 points behind league leaders Marconi. Let’s take a look at their run in.

Brumbies entered the cup in round 4 like the other NPL 1 teams, where they defeated Glebe Gorillas 6-1 away. Round 5 saw a huge win against NPL 3 side St George City, with the scoreline finishing 8-2 before they traveled to the Illawarra where they defeated Wollongong United 6-3, in a game which they were flattered by the scoreline.

Hills have had a good run in to this point and to make it through to the round of 32 will need to defeat 2 IPL sides in a row. They hold the advantage of playing the game at home however, but Kemblawarra Fury are a good side which we are about to look at.

Kemblawarra Dapto Fury FC (IPL)

Currently 3rd in the IPL, Kemblawarra will be looking to complete the cup run they could have had last year, where they fell to the Wollongong Wolves in round 5. Another team looking to make history this year, it will require a big upset to make it to the national stage.

Round 3 came and went as they defeated Coogee United 2-1 before disposing of Gosford City 4-2 away. Round 5 saw them defeat State League side Camden Tigers 5-2 before a huge upset which saw them steal the win from Fraser Park in the closing minutes of the game in round 6.

Kemblawarra are a strong side lead by Sydney FC veteran Alvin Ceccoli, playing for the team since 2008. The Fury probably have the best chance at getting an upset and creating history against Hills Brumbies, but it will require full concentration on the game. This game has the potential to come down to the wire, and may be decided by a keeper error.

 

Bankstown Berries FC v Sydney Olympic FC – Wednesday 31 May – 7.30pm – TBA

Bankstown Berries FC (NPL 2)

Currently sitting in 12th in NPL 2, their table position doesn’t accurately reflect their season where they’ve had 4 wins 2 draws and 6 losses, a win on the weekend could see them climb to the top half of the table.

Berries entered the comp in round 4 defeating East Gosford FC 2-0 before travelling to Dunbar Rovers (NPL 3) winning that game 2-0 as well. Round 6 saw them defeat Dulwich Hill 2-1 away from home in what was a thrilling contest that could have gone either way.

The Berries are desperately trying to rebuild and have aspirations of playing in the top flight in NSW. A cup run into the round of 32 may be the motivation needed to lift them for the rest of the season, as well as next year.

Sydney Olympic FC (NPL 1)

Former NSL giants Sydney Olympic are looking at another run into the round of 32, by hopefully defeating Bankstown Berries. Currently sitting 4th on the table, 3 points behind APIA and Blacktown, Olympic have the potential to make it past even the round of 32 and their job is made easier by playing the Berries.

Easily defeating Mosman FC 7-1 in round 4, Olympic turned their sights onto Picton Rangers where 3 2nd half goals saw them through to round 6 of the cup. A tight game against Parramatta FC where Melitas goalkeeper was sent off, as well as having a penalty saved meant that Olympic only just scrapped through to round 7. If a few calls went the other way we would be discussing Parramatta instead.

However, after relaxing in the NPL Sydney Olympic are looking to be the favourites in this one. They are a strong side and should be able to score plenty of goals, however I wouldn’t write Bankstown Berries off just yet. Home-field advantage can be a major factor, but it isn’t always. Berries have the capability of beating Olympic but will need to focus and play hard for the full 90 minutes. If the game goes to extra time, it is truly Olympics for the taking.

 

Last word

Looking at the final 10 teams, this is the break up.

NPL 1 – 5
NPL 2 – 2
NPL 3 – 1
IPL 1 – 2

Also looking at the games, we are guaranteed 1 NPL 1 team to make it through, and at least 1 non NPL 1 team as either Hills Brumbies or Kemblawarra Dapto will be making it to the FFA cup proper.

As we reflect on the journey these clubs have taken through the cup, they must all be congratulated by coming this far. For many it meant winning 3 games, for others it meant hard fought games against much tougher opponents. The 5 winners that will join Sydney United 58 will all represent NSW well, and with some luck will avoid other NSW teams in the round of 32 giving NSW the best chance at having a team in the finals and hopefully ultimately a NSW winner.

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