With 5 Football NSW allocated spots, the signs were evident for an all-National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s encounter to be announced as the Mt Druitt Town Rangers won the right to host 2019 NPL Champions Wollongong Wolves in an exciting FFA Cup Round of 32 clash.
Mt Druitt’s experienced campaigner and former A-League star Tarek Elrich was happy with the Rangers drawing a home match at the always tricky Popondetta Park.
“Playing at home is always great as it’s not an easy place to come to but we as a club are really looking forward to this round of 32 FFA Cup match against the Wolves who have a rich footballing history in Australia.”
Elrich did single out however that when Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire was asked by host Michael Zappone during the live draw on his thoughts on the match-up, the former Socceroo “wasn’t too impressed with the draw.”
“I can’t believe I waited two years for that, to play Mt Druitt Town Rangers away, thanks mate”, were the words Wilkshire stated tongue in cheek of course to Zappone.
Wilkshire then went on to say, “It is what it is, in a Cup draw you play against who your drawn against, obviously we would have loved to have played against an A-League side to test ourselves against the best, but we have an opportunity to go through to the next round and be part of the next draw.”
The 34-year-old knew that this was a different test for him personally as he was now part of an NPL setup as opposed to what he was used to when he played for A-League sides Adelaide United, Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth Glory when they participated in the FFA Cup competition.
“I am really looking forward to this in my maiden season for my club Mt Druitt as I am now seeing this from the other side being involved with an NPL club as opposed to an A-League side.
“The challenges are far greater that as a club we are really anticipating this battle.
“The FFA Cup is very important to us as it’s a huge opportunity to put the Mt Druitt Town Rangers on the map with the rest of the big clubs in NSW.”
One player in the opposing dugout that will want to put a stop to the Rangers progressing will be lively Wolves right-back star Taylor McDonald.
“We are looking forward to the match-up against Mt Druitt. We owe them from the last time we played them. We’re excited about this FFA Cup fixture, and the boys are raring to go.
“To say the FFA Cup means a lot to the club is an understatement.
“We have been pursuing A-League status for years now.
“It’s our chance to prove ourselves on the National stage and progress to play against an A-League opposition.”