A storied state rivalry will hit the national stage when Bonnyrigg White Eagles travel to Lily's Homes Stadium to take on Blacktown City in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16 with a coveted quarter final spot up for grabs.
The PlayStation® 4 NPL New South Wales heavyweights have battled for state dominance in high-stakes games on a number of occasions in recent years – including last season's PS4 NPL NSW Men's Grand Final.
The White Eagles won the day last year and with both teams embroiled in another Finals Series once again this season, the two could yet face off again on the road to the big dance.
But first, they will clash with the eyes of a nation on them in the FFA Cup Round of 16.
Blacktown smashed FFA Cup Round of 32 participants Manly United 4-1 on the weekend, while the White Eagles knocked out Rockdale City Suns 4-2 in a six-goal thriller – which points to an entertaining fixture on Wednesday.
At a state level, these two fierce rivals rarely disappoint and Blacktown star Sasa Macura is expecting another nail-biting affair.
"Everyone is buzzing for it," Macura said.
"It will be a tough game. It always is against Bonnyrigg. They know us and we know them and they can beat anyone in our league.
"They have experienced players like Robbie Younis and Nikola Zonjic.
"It's a bit more exciting because it's the FFA Cup but we always have close games and they're always entertaining and I expect more of the same.
Exciting would certainly be a fair adjective for Blacktown's campaign thus far.
They stole the show last time out in the Round of 32 when they staged an incredible comeback against another divisional rival in Sydney United 58 FC to win 6-2 after extra-time.
Danny Choi stole the show that day with a huge goal from inside his own half just 15 minutes into extra-time, but Macura said everyone in his team had match-winning potential.
"It happened to be Choi that stole the spotlight last time, but I think we have a whole team of quality," he said.
"We've got a quality back four with Zach Cairncross back there, Connor Evans in the middle and we've got the end product up front."
But they can expect stubborn resistance from Bonnyrigg, according to White Eagles star Michael Robinson.
The returning White Eagle – who spent the last two seasons with his hometown club the Wollongong Wolves before returning for a second stint at Bonnyrigg – is no stranger to success at the club where his experience is crucial to Brian 'Bomber' Brown's cause.
But he cannot deny there is a sense of excitement unlike a domestic Finals Series ahead of the club's FFA Cup tie.
"To be honest, we were patchy in the middle of the season, but we have come on form," Robinson said.
"Everyone has hit their straps. Everyone is ready to go and there is a great mood at training and we really believe if we can win this game and get into a quarter-final, we can go all the way.
"This is a winnable match for us and if we get it we can go all the way."
While Robinson did not play in last season's Grand Final triumph over Blacktown, he is no stranger to big games against them with Bonnyrigg and he is looking forward to taking the rival to the national stage.
"We are looking forward to taking them on in the FFA Cup," he said.
"The club has been aiming for a good run for a few years, so it's exciting to be at this stage now.
"We are up for every game but there is a big buzz about the FFA Cup. We saw that when we played Manly [in the Round of 32] and even though they're another team in our division, we had a massive crowd and all the cameras here everyone just went out there wanting to make the most of it."
Blacktown City v Bonnyrigg White Eagles
Wednesday 24 August 2016
Lily’s Football Centre, Seven Hills (NSW)
Kick-off: 7.30pm local
Tickets: Click here for ticketing details
Online Broadcast: Streamed online at www.foxsports.com.au/football/ffa-cup/ffacupondemand and Apple TV via FOX SPORTS Now
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