The initial reaction was disbelief, followed by a bit of apprehension but Darwin Olympic are now savouring their shot to take on big guns Adelaide United in the Westfield FFA Cup.
Olympic - the Northern Territory’s first ever representatives in the competition - will be catapulted onto the national stage when they take on the defending champions in the round of 32.
Just making it this far has been a remarkable achievement for the part-timers from the top end.
But don’t expect them to be overawed by taking on the full-time professionals from the Hyundai A-League.
“It’s a big hill to climb but we’re going to enjoy ourselves and go for it,” Olympic co-coach Steve Lolias told www.theffacup.com.au.
“They have two arms and two legs just like us.
“If we give them respect we are going to be able to compete, if we don’t then their class will take over.
“As we know in football anything can happen. It just takes one goal to change a game. We saw last year with Adelaide City [beating Western Sydney Wanderers], A-League teams can be beaten.
“There is no pressure on us, so we can just go out there and enjoy ourselves and lap it up. I know if it was me I would be buzzing at the opportunity and I know the players will be too.”
Olympic cruised through the qualifying stages, scoring 29 goals in their four matches, including a 5-0 drubbing of Alice Springs outfit Celtic FC in the Northern Territory final.
Taking on the Reds will obviously be a whole new challenge for Lolias’ troops, with the clash easily the biggest game in the club’s 48-year history.
The entire squad gathered to watch Wednesday’s draw and were initially taken aback by the match-up.
“The boys were enjoying pizzas and a couple of drinks then we saw our number come out, we thought originally we had (Melbourne) Victory but then saw it was Adelaide and just couldn’t believe it,” Lolias said.
“The boys had no words.
“But everyone is very excited now. I’ve got so many messages from coaches and players from other clubs wishing us the best and saying they are all behind us.
“The whole community is buzzing.”
Olympic has had to show great resolve and their depth has been tested on their Cup-run, losing three players to broken legs in horrible luck for the club.
But it’s given their young players a chance to show what they can do and Lolias knows they will benefit greatly from taking on the likes of Marcelo Carrusca and Socceroos Tarek Elrich and Eugene Galekovic.
“If our boys believe in themselves, there is no reason they can’t stand up to Adelaide,” Lolias said.
“The main difference and something I will be drumming into the boys over the next few weeks is intensity over 90 minutes.
“They’re [Adelaide] going to go at their pace but then in an instant they can just lift it and we have to be ready for that."If we can keep our intensity for the whole game I think we can go with them."