Having started with 79 clubs across Northern NSW four months ago, four National Premier Leagues (NPL) Northern NSW sides will battle it out over the next coming nights in the final round of the Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) State Qualifiers for the two coveted spots in the national Round of 32.
Having defeated the two Northern Conference teams in Round 6 with big wins, Maitland FC and Hamilton Olympic will now have to overcome one another at Cooks Square Park tonight, 7:30pm, to progress to the national stage for the first time in club history.
On Saturday, the Magpies ran through North Coast Football side Boambee Bombers 7-2, but it was only weeks prior that they were smashed by Olympic in the league, 4-0 at Darling Street Oval.
Hamilton sauntered in their Round 6 match against Football Far North Coast’s Bangalow Bluedogs winning 10-1 in dominating fashion including eight goals shared evenly by both Rhys Cooper and Kent Harrison.
Experience is on the side of the Magpies though despite the fact the club has only progressed to the last round of qualification on one occasion, with players like Alex Read, the Swan brothers, and Joel Wood, who is one of just two players across the two squads that have Round of 32 experience, the other being Hamilton’s Scott Pettit.
Featuring in the Round of 32 would be a historic moment for either club, as it would be as well for Valentine Phoenix who progressed to Round 7 for the first time in their history with an 8-1 win over NEWFM Northern League One side Kahibah FC.
They’ll have one of the hardest tasks in Northern NSW football though on Wednesday – stopping Edgeworth short of the Round of 32, which has only ever happened twice.
Phoenix elected to have their ‘home’ game played at Speers Point’s Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility (LMRFF) where they found success on the weekend, but the Eagles were in fine form also after they picked up an incredible 4-0 victory over that of league rivals Broadmeadow Magic.
Almost every single player in the Edgeworth starting squad has experienced the Round of 32 stage before, while in stark comparison, only two of Valentine’s players, Ben Hay and Luke Willard, have played there back in 2016 for Lambton, however, the former won’t be featuring in this week’s match due to being overseas.
The two sides have already met earlier in the year in the league and it saw Edgeworth pull off a rather convincing 3-1 win, but with so much on the line this time around, who knows how this one will turn out.
The two winning sides will progress to the national Round of 32 stage where they will be joined by the ten (10) 2018-19 Hyundai A-League clubs, and twenty (20) other Member Federation clubs from around Australia.
All of the State Qualifiers will be streamed LIVE thanks to BarTV Sports on NNSWF’s Facebook.
From each of the matches played during the State Qualifiers, NNSWF’s Major Partner in Education and Training, TAFE NSW will identify a TAFE NSW ‘Game Changer’ – Player of the Match, as well as a TAFE NSW ‘Game Changer’ – Player of the Series from all six matches played decided by NNSWF Officials.
Match details and scores can be found on theffacup.com.au.
NNSWF FFA Cup Round 7 Fixtures:
Maitland FC vs. Hamilton Olympic FC – Tuesday 11th June, 7:30pm @ Cooks Square Park
Valentine FC vs. Edgeworth FC – Wednesday 12th June, 7:30pm @ LMRFF