A South West WA town known more for its 1800m jetty than its football history is preparing to create a magical Westfield FFA Cup moment.
Some 93 years after its establishment, Busselton Soccer Club has been drawn to take on a heavyweight of the WA game in a round-four match on Monday that initially sent shudders through the coach.
Shane “Rusty” Russell does not mind conceding he was overcome by a sinking feeling when he heard his team had been drawn against Bayswater City, who won all four trophies on offer in WA last season.
“My first reaction was ‘holy crap,’” Russell said.
“But then the longer I thought about it, the more exciting it was. It’s inevitable that we’ll get knocked out at some point and before that happens we’re going to be playing the best club in WA.
“These boys probably won’t get the chance to play against a club this big in their lifetime and they’ll be giving everything they can to win the game.”
While Bayswater boast big names such as coach Chris Coyne, assistant Travis Dodd and players including former Hyundai A-League performers Jamie Coyne, Todd Howarth and Sam Mitchinson, Busselton are a team of locals with an Irish flavour.
Among the Irish contingent is Martin Ryan, whose hat-trick at the weekend was the critical contribution in Busselton’s 4-1 third-round victory over Ballajura. Mike Newell was also on target for the South West club.
But even Russell does not mind admitting that there is more likely to be more defending than attacking from the home side on Monday.
Adam Guthridge is a goalkeeper whose gloves might get the most serious work-out of their life, while Mark McLaren will be busy at the back and Danny Keogh will be required to cover a lot of ground in midfield.
Russell, who had played in Busselton for 20 years before hanging up the boots last season, said the importance of the game had been emphasised at a meeting this week.
“We’ve never had such a big game,” he said. “It’s great for the players, for me as a coach and for everyone at the club to be hosting Bayswater.”
Club President Paul Coshott said the club would reach out to the local community in an effort to attract a big crowd to Sir Stewart Bovell Park.
“The FFA Cup is an awesome competition and the moment it was mentioned to our committee we were going to be in it,” Coshott said.
“To get through round three was great and now to get opposition of this quality is going to be very exciting.”
As for Busselton’s chances of winning the game, Coshott was somewhat optimistic.
“They say it’s a funny old game, so you never know,” he said.