On paper, the FFA Cup gives every team – from amateur community clubland through to fully professional A League – a shot at the chocolates.
In reality, it’s a minefield where a single false step can spell the end. That’s the nature and the magic of knockout football.
Modelled broadly on England’s FA Cup, the Australian competition is an exciting innovation and addition to the landscape.
Locally, North Coast Football clubs have been well at it since before the start of the regular season – and we still have four teams alive going in to Round 4 – Northern Storm, Coffs Tigers, Boambee and Coffs United.
At the end of Round 5 – the two winning teams from the Northern Conference will go into the mix with six sides from the Southern Conference (the Newcastle-anchored end of the State).
A fresh draw will be done, and the two sides left standing after Rounds 6 and 7 will progress into the national round.
That’s the pointy end – and when the A League clubs make their entrance.
NNSW Senior Communications Officer Andrew Parkinson said this will be the first FFA Cup since 2019 – after COVID cruelled last year’s knockout.
So the last time it was held, the champions from our ‘football state’ were Maitland FC and Edgeworth FC.
Maitland bowed out to the Central Coast Mariners in the round of 32. Edgeworth went deeper, before being undone by the Newcastle Jets in the round of 16.
In the final, Adelaide United smoked Melbourne City 4-zip – in an all-A League battle.
The dream of course is that one day a team of amateur footballers – plumbers, chippies, school teachers and uni students … will reach the decider and in the words of Eminem, have their ‘one shot’.