IPL Teams in the FFA Cup

Illawarra Teams in the FFA Cup

It is no secret that teams from the Illawarra Premier League perform well in the FFA Cup every year. Teams such as Bulli FC, Kemblawarra Fury and Wollongong United have always gone into the later stages of the preliminary rounds, collecting scalps of NPL 2 and 3 teams along the way.

If we look back at last year, both Bulli FC and Kemblawarra Fury made it to round 7 of the preliminaries. Bulli FC went down 3-0 to Blacktown whilst Kemblawarra lost 5-2 to Hills Brumbies.

2 teams bowed out in round 6 with Albion Park White Eagles losing to Hakoah on penalties and Wollongong United going down to Brumbies.

In last year’s cup Bulli took down NPL 2 side Macarthur Rams and State League side Nepean FC, Wollongong United defeated NPL 3 side Granville Rage, Kemblawarra Fury beat State League Side Camden Tigers and NPL 3 side Fraser Park.

 

Wollongong United in a turn of events, lost out to Doonside Hawks in round 2, who they defeated last season. Coniston, Wollongong Olympic, Albion Park, Tarrawanna and Bulli have all secured their round 4 spots with Bulli defeating Inter Lions.

Port Kembla is set to take on Dunbar Rovers tonight, and Helensburgh Thistle crashed out to fellow Illawarra team Coniston FC.

South Coast Flame the new boys of the NSW State League also won their first competitive fixture defeating West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook FC 4-2.

The performances by these IPL teams in the cup clearly shows the quality of the competition, with many arguing that it would sit somewhere around NPL 2/3 level.

 

This brings to light the question; should the IPL teams be granted automatic passage to a certain round of the FFA Cup? NPL 1 teams don’t enter until round 4, and NPL 2/3 and State League teams are guaranteed entry from round 3, missing the qualifying round 2.

If they were to be guaranteed entry from round 3, meaning they would only need to win 5 games at most, is there any other competitions that could also claim they deserve a guaranteed later entry?

Should NPL 2 teams be guaranteed to enter at round 4 with the NPL 1 sides or should they be moved back to round 3? Should NPL sides enter in at round 5? Probably not, but it still leaves the original question unanswered.

In my view, they should enter from round 3 with the other semi-professional teams. Perhaps it will happen as the cup keeps expanding with more and more entrants debuting every year.

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