With 48 hours to go before Brisbane Strikers and Broadmeadow Magic go head-to-head in Newcastle in a televised clash on the opening night of the Westfield FFA Cup, the sense of excitement about the game is building among the players who will wear the yellow and blue of the Strikers.
Winger Greg King (pictured), who will lead the Strikers into battle even though fit-again club captain Jonti Richter will be in the travelling squad and should make his first appearance for several months, had a clear sense of the history pervading the game when speaking about it tonight.
“From a team perspective it’s really exciting, to the point where I guess you could say it’s an honour”, King said. “To be playing in the first televised game in the Round of 32 in the first-ever Westfield FFA Cup – it’s a real honour to be involved in that, from a player’s point of view.
“And as a captain it’s an honour any time to captain the club, but in such a prestigious game that will go down in history it’s really something personally to be very proud of”.
King said the feeling he got at training on Saturday morning was that, for most of his teammates, Tuesday night cannot come soon enough.
“I think we’re ready to just get to the game – to get down there and really get the business done”, King said.
“For many guys this is the ultimate opportunity. At the end of the day we’re a semi-professional club and we don’t get this sort of exposure very often. Since the end of the NSL this club hasn’t really had this exposure ever, so for the guys that haven’t played professionally this is about as good as you’ll get.
“So it’s a great opportunity for them and hopefully something that we don’t get too daunted by. It’s one of those situations where you have to approach it with the right mentality and seize the opportunity and just go out there and play the best you can, as hard as you can”.
King said pre-match nerves were bound to be a factor for the players of both teams. In those circumstances, perhaps the Strikers will be well served by the fact that their skipper has a degree in psychology.
“With some guys you want them to feel that excitement because it will help their game, and some guys you need to calm down a little bit”, King said.
“It really varies from player to player. For those that I think might need to just sort of calm down and treat it as a normal game, I’ll probably have a word with them. But for some others it’ll probably help them to feel the excitement of the game”.
King admitted the Strikers had limited knowledge about Broadmeadow Magic and how they were likely to play. But from what they do know, King hinted the Strikers were expecting to face a team that rises to the big occasion.
“We’re making sure that our boys don’t read too much into their current position on the league table – I think they’re somewhere mid-table at best at the moment”, King said.
“But they’ve also won the last three grand finals down there”.
King said he was quietly confident the Strikers have the ability overcome Broadmeadow Magic’s home ground advantage to win through to the last 16 of the competition.
“I think it’s like many games, or at least the last five or six we’ve had in our league now – it’s all about us and how we perform”, King said.
“If we perform to the best our ability, if we go there with the right mentality and we’re not daunted by the situation and the fact that it’s on TV etcetera, etcetera – if we perform I think the result will look after itself”.
The game will take place at Wanderer’s Oval, kicking off at 7.30 pm, with live television coverage on Fox Sports 3.