Local pride is on the line Saturday night as Gold Coast City and Gold Coast Knights battle to be the last team from Queensland’s ‘glitter strip’ in this year’s Westfield FFA Cup.
The vagaries of the qualifying pathway in Queensland mean that despite being the largest non-capital city in Australia only one Gold Coast club can advance beyond Preliminary Round 5 each season.
The result is a classic cup derby that offers the extra incentive of bragging rights to one Gold Coast club for the remainder of year.
City are considered favourites for the tie with the club currently sitting top of the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland courtesy of an eight-match unbeaten run in the league.
They also boast impressive pedigree in the competition after twice previously advancing beyond the Round of 32 under their former name of Palm Beach SC.
However, Knights, who only earned promotion to the third-tier Gold Coast Premier League last year, are on the back of their best-ever run in the knock-out competition.
They eliminated last year’s Round of 32 qualifiers Surfers Paradise Apollo from the competition in the previous round.
City coach Grae Piddick said his side are focused on avoiding a repeat of their exit at the same stage of the competition last year.
“It’s billed as a bit of ‘battle of the coast’ which is something I can understand from the fans’ perspective,” he explained.
“But for us it’s just about getting through to the next stage. Both teams have been on good runs of late and both sides will be confident of winning the game.”
“We just need to learn from the upset that happened last year. We’ve had a lot of tough games lately in the league and the team know that when the game is on the line they can perform.”
Piddick added that he would love to see a direct spot for a Gold Coast club into the national stage in future years.
“Every year a Gold Coast team has gone through to the national round. That’s been great for football on the Gold Coast but it’s not guaranteed with the way the structure is.”
“Our own record in the competition is one of the best of any Queensland team in the competition – even better than the Brisbane Roar.”
“So more places for teams on the Gold Coast would be great if it could happen,” he concluded.
Westfield FFA Cup 2017 - Queensland Preliminary Round 5
Gold Coast City FC v Gold Coast Knights FC
Saturday 6 May
Duncan McKenna Field, Palm Beach, Gold Coast