Caloundra cool with underdog tag

Caloundra FC coach Richard Hudson is happy for his young side to be the underdogs when they tackle the in-form Palm Beach Sharks in a Football Queensland Cup playoff on Saturday.

With an average age of just 21, Caloundra hope to cause a major boilover when they head south to meet the NPL Queensland leaders for one of the state's remaining two FFA Cup places.   The former Sunshine Coast Fire coach has few concerns about being heavy outsiders against the Gold Coast-based Sharks, who are unbeaten in 12 league matches.   "We're absolutely comfortable with being the underdog," Hudson said.   "Nobody outside of the club and the playing group is expecting us to do well but cup football is completely different to league football."   Having strung five straight FQ Cup wins together, including a memorable penalty shootout triumph over his former employers, Hudson lauded the new competition with the amateur outfit within one match of the round of 32.   "We're only in the first year of it but already with the excitement and the euphoria it's a change from the league campaign," he said.   "We packed out Sunshine Coast Stadium with plenty of Caloundra fans and we're taking two bus loads to Palm Beach.   "It adds a new dimension to the football."   Hudson commended the desire of his squad, which has no players over the age of 24, to prove themselves beyond the local scene.   With the likes of former Fire pair Kaine Frew and Dale Hill in his stable, cup ties doubling as a shop window for young talent sits comfortably with the former Queensland State League winning coach.   "If Palm Beach likes one of our players they're quite welcome to talk to them," the experienced mentor said.   "They're a gem of a group to work with. They have an appetite to play football and develop."   The best way to impress is on grand occasions and Caloundra have that chance starting against the Sharks on Saturday.   "I've been to watch them a few times and they're a good side," Hudson said.   "It's hard to find weaknesses in their structure and with individuals.   "I rate them very highly."   Kick off at the Mallawa Complex on Saturday is at 5.00pm AEST.