McDonald’s Cup Quarter-Finals set for Wednesday


Super League outfit Spirit FC have been drawn to take on NSW Premier League side South Coast Wolves at Christie Park. Jason Van Blerk?s men have been a tricky outfit especially at their home ground and will no doubt pose a threat to Trevor Morgan?s side with the winner earning a semi-final spot. Spirit FC are currently mid-table in the Super League as it has been and up and down season for them, however the likes of Leo Papanicolaou, Ben Gough, Tim Simpson, Daniel Cunningham and skipper Paul Nicolaou will certainly make it hard for the South Coast side. The Wolves will be banking on the striking expertise of their ace marksman Mark Picciolini who has scored seven goals in eleven NSW Premier League matches along with Tynan Diaz, Tayfun Buyukkopru, Jason Trifiro and keeper Brody Crane in securing a spot in the next phase of the Cup.
Cromer Park will play host to Manly United tackling Marconi Stallions in an all NSW Premier League affair. Manly United under the guidance of Player/Manager Craig Midgley have slowly turned the corner with a couple of good results in the competition but they will need to be at their very best when they take on the current NSW Premier League leaders. Former Sydney FC striker Chris Payne, ex-North Queensland Fury defender Beau Busch, skipper Joey Schirripa and attacker Robbie Cattanach will be marked men during the match their clash against the Stallions. Lee Sterrey?s men have been in fantastic form this season and will be pushing for that elusive semi-final berth. Made up of a number of promising youngsters such as Umut Tokdogan, Graziano Trimboli, Laurence Braude, Jarod Lum, Mitchell Malia and Giorgio Speranza, the club certainly has some bright prospects plying their trade with the former NSL giants.
Yet another interesting NSW Premier League duel will take place at Seymour Shaw Park when 2009 Cup winners Sutherland Sharks take on the Blacktown City FC. Billed as one of the biggest clashes in the four matches for a semi-final spot it will be Robbie Stanton versus Aytek Genc with both coaches looking at putting their squads closer to a Grand Final spot. The Sharks will rely heavily on the attacking presence of Panny Nikas as well as the in-form Ben Vidaic while the club will be led courageously by skipper George Souris who alongside Michael Robinson have formed a formidable combination at the back. Blacktown though have an extensive arsenal of their own in Tolgay Ozbey who along with the likes of Mitchell Long, Luke Roodenburg and Ante Deur will certainly turn this match up into a firecracker.
Finally at Garside Park, Super League side Granville Rage have been drawn to face 2010 McDonald?s Cup ?giant-killers? and State League One club Blacktown Spartans. The Spartans have already claimed the scalps of NSW Premier League sides Rockdale City Suns and more recently Sydney United and will be fighting at all costs in continuing their fantastic journey in the Cup. Midfield ace Reece Iredale, Todd Macrae and Glenn McPherson will loom as the Spartans? biggest threats on the pitch. The Rage will be a very tough opponent who also held the honour of knocking out NSW Premier League side Sydney Olympic and more recently Super League side Northern Tigers but many fans will expect fireworks between the two. Rage?s experienced marksman Nenos Bobo will hold the key to the club?s chances of progressing along with the likes of Nathan Rivera and Patrick Cappucio.
The semi-finals for the McDonald?s Cup will be played on June 23.
McDonald?s Cup Quarter-Finals
Manly United v Marconi Stallions ? Cromer Park
Spirit FC v South Coast Wolves ? Christie Park
Granville Rage v Blacktown Spartans ? Garside Park
Sutherland Sharks v Blacktown City FC ? Seymour Shaw Park
*To be played on Wednesday June 9
-By Mark Stavroulakis