FFA Cup Preview: Six more intriguing clashes on Matchday Three

Twelve more teams in action on Tuesday night fighting for the last six spots in the Round of 16 of the 2018 FFA Cup.

There will be seven Hyundai A-League clubs in action on the night - including two all-Hyundai A-League match-ups, giving three Member Federation clubs the chance to take on the big boys.

So far, it’s been a tournament which hasn’t thrown up any real surprises but that could change on Tuesday night.

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Bentleigh Greens will be hoping they can spring an upset over Mark Rudan’s Wellington Phoenix outfit, while Northern Territory representatives Hellenic AC are up against it – they face Western Sydney Wanderers.

Get the lowdown on what to expect from all six matches right here.


The only all-NPL clash on the final matchday of the Round of 32, this is a match which really could go either way.

The hosts, Northcote City, are languishing near the foot of the NPL Victoria so a good run in the FFA Cup could be their season’s saving grace.

This is their first appearance on the national stage, and they beat fellow NPL Victoria side Green Gully to get here. They have one of the worst defences in that league though and will need to be tighter defensively come Tuesday night.

Northcote comes into this match off the back of a 2-2 draw with Port Melbourne Sharks on Saturday evening. Gerrie Syladios scored one of those two on Saturday, and with seven for the year is the main threat.

At the opposite end of the ladder down south in the NPL Tasmania, Devonport Strikers have a real shot at going through the Round of 32 for the second time.

The last time they did was back in 2016 when they beat NPL Northern NSW side Lambton Jaffas but were knocked out at the next stage by Bentleigh Greens.

Devonport are flying high in the NPL Tasmania, five points clear at the top.

They’ve scored a whopping 53 goals and conceded just 14 along the way. Brayden Mann has been an absolute weapon for the Strikers, with 29 goals in 15 games in the league so far this season.

Devonport Strikers


Two sides which are still assembling their squads for the upcoming Hyundai A-League season will be looking forward to a test against opposition similar to themselves.

Brisbane has set about putting together a side which can crack the top six this season and with the likes of Adam Taggart and Stefan Mauk now among their ranks, they’re gearing up for a big 2018/19.

One of only a few Hyundai A-League sides which has never gotten further than the Round of 16, this year may well be the year for Brisbane. A good Cup run would set them up nicely for success in the league.

If pre-season form is anything to go by, then there’s a good chance Brisbane will put on a solid showing on Tuesday night. Wins over Wellington Phoenix and NPL Queensland side Magpies Crusaders are among those positive results.

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After going down in last year’s Hyundai A-League Semi Final, and knocked out in the FFA Cup quarter-finals by eventual winners Sydney FC, Melbourne City are back in knockout football with a point to prove.

Most of City’s signings at this point in the pre-season have been attacking reinforcements – Riley McGree on loan from Club Brugge, and Scottish youth international Michael O’Holloran will threaten.

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Melbourne City has enjoyed a bit of a mixed pre-season, going down 6-0 to La Liga side Girona but beating out Indian opponents Kerala Blasters by the same scoreline at a City Football Group tournament in India.

Those matches, plus a visit from Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, will hold City in good stead.


It’s the first time that Newcastle has ever taken on a non-Hyundai A-League opponent in the FFA Cup, and it’s a match which they’re widely expected to win over a fourth tier opponent.

At the top of the Gold Coast Premier League are their opponents – Gold Coast Knights, who have scored 42 goals in 16 matches in the league and hasn’t lost a match this season.

It’s the first time that the Knights have played on the national stage, and they’re the lowest ranked team in the Round of 32. The Gold Coast Premier League is the fourth tier of Australian football.

The ones to watch for the Knights are Andrew Barasic and Morgan Sanders. The two attackers have scored half of Gold Coast’s goals in the league and will be out to show what they’ve got on Tuesday night.

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While it looks like a simple task on paper for the Newcastle Jets, it’s anything but. They played in Spain on Saturday morning (AEST), and face a huge turnaround to get home for this match. To add to that, the Youth squad returns from China on Monday and plays in the NPL Northern NSW on Tuesday night at the same time.

There have been four previous appearances in the Round of 32 for Newcastle, and they've never gone any further. Beaten by Hyundai A-League opponents at the first hurdle every time, Jets fans might finally be able to see their side in the Round of 16.

Newcastle will be without two key players on Tuesday night – captain Nigel Boogaard (concussion) and striker Roy O’Donovan (suspension).

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The most high-profile of the member federation-Hyundai A-League match ups, Tuesday night’s clash in Victoria is a big one for both sides.

Fighting in third place on the NPL Victoria ladder, Bentleigh Greens will be chomping at the bit to have another crack at FFA Cup glory.

It’s the third year in a row they’ve qualified, fourth in total, and given they’ve gone as far as semi-finals before they’ll be hopeful of a similar finish this time around.

In their three previous jaunts in the Round of 32 and beyond, Bentleigh have been knocked out of the Cup by a Hyundai A-League opponent. Last year it was Western Sydney Wanderers, in the Round of 16.

Bentleigh has a good record on home turf in the NPL Victoria this season, and have won 10 of their 12 matches at Kingston Heath. Matt Thurtell is the side’s leading goalscorer in the league, and after a hat-trick against Kingston City last Friday night he’s the one to watch.

This is a big match for a Wellington Phoenix club which is hoping that Mark Rudan can spark something special across the ditch. He’s got a strong history with APIA Leichhardt behind him and will be hoping for a win in his first competitive fixture with Phoenix.

Wellington has only gone past the Round of 32 once before, back in 2015 when they beat the Mariners in the opening round but went down to Melbourne City in the Round of 16. This match is their first against a non-Hyundai A-League opponent.

Bentleigh Greens


One of three all Hyundai A-League matchups in the Round of 32, both sides are in good pre-season form and will be hopeful of a good run in the FFA Cup 2018.

It’s a big trip for Melbourne, who have struggled at Perth during Kevin Muscat’s reign. They’ve played nine times our west, and have only won two of those encounters.

There’s been a pretty big turnover of players at Victory since they won the Hyundai A-League Championship, and they’ve lost the likes of defender Rhys Williams and midfield maestro Leroy George.

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Victory has won their two pre-season friendlies so far, a 5-1 win over Port Melbourne Sharks and 4-2 over Oakleigh Cannons. It’s good form, which may hold them in good stead.

Perth played the highest profile pre-season friendly of the Hyundai A-League season and acquitted themselves well in their 1-0 loss to English Premier League giants Chelsea.

It’s no surprise they were able to hold the Blues to just a single goal – playing a 3-5-2, the likes of Socceroos defenders Ivan Franjic, Dino Djulbic, Scott Neville and Jason Davidson appeared in the backline at one time or another.

Perth have finished runners-up in the FFA Cup on two occasions. They’ll be hoping they can make the final yet again, but perhaps go one better should they get there this time around.

Perth Glory


It’s the second year running that Northern Territory’s sole Round of 32 representative has drawn a Hyundai A-League club, and despite a stunning run of form in the Norzone Premier League they are right up against it.

On top of the league with a 15-point buffer, Hellenic are flying. They’ve scored 57 goals and conceded just 9 in the league so far this season, and the goals can come from anywhere.

They’ve got two players which have scored ten or more goals this season, Sulav Maskey and Manolis Giallouris. Three others have scored seven or more, which shows they can threaten.

One player which may prove the story of the tournament is that of Helio Carvalho. The 48-year-old scored seven times in Hellenic’s qualifying run which seen them win score 20 goals and concede none. Should he play, he’ll be the oldest ever player in the FFA Cup proper.

It’s a new-look Western Sydney Wanderers, under the rule now of German manager Marcus Babbel they’ll be keen to put in a good shift in his first competitive match as Wanderers manager.

There are a slew of new players among the Wanderers ranks, with Tarek Elrich returning from Adelaide United, young guns Bruce Kamau and Ruon Tongyik, and German defender Patrick Ziegler.

Last year the Wanderers went on their best-ever FFA Cup run, reaching the semi-finals before going down to runners-up Adelaide United. This is a match which they’re widely expected to win.