General

Big weekend for WA soccer teams

Eight WA clubs will compete in the quarter finals of the Cool Ridge Cup this Saturday with six National Premier League and two State League sides involved in the knockout competition.

The two clubs that reach the final will become WA’s representatives in the national FFA Cup competition, where they will face off against teams from around the country, including the A-League.

The pick of the weekend’s games sees NPL team Stirling Lions face second division State League side Curtin University.

The red-hot Lions sit second on the NPL ladder, while Curtin sit fifth in a competition that is two leagues below the NPL.

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Stirling Lions. Photo: Kate Jackson Photographic

On paper, it looks like a mismatch, but Stirling assistant coach Dejan Villic said Stirling would not be complacement.

“We treat every game and every opponent equally. Especially being a cup game, it’s the old clichè that anything can happen on a day,” Villic said.

“The boys are going to pay the most respect to Curtin, but we don’t fear anybody.”

Curtin University is certainly the underdog in Saturday’s clash, which will be played at Macedonia Park at 5.30pm, but coach Campbell Ballantyne said the players believed in themselves.

“Upsets happen. Everyone in football’s just watched Leicester City win a league title,” Ballantyne said.

“We’ve got a plan and we think we can cause an upset.”

Both teams have put in their research before the match, but Ballantyne said the wealth of information available about their opponents gave the Curtin University team an edge.

“The advantage of playing an NPL team is there’s a lot more information about them. You can ask people and you can watch videos, so we’ve done a little bit of research and found a few weaknesses in their team,” Ballantyne said.

Villic has found information about Curtin difficult to come by and admits he is not as well-prepared as he would like.

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Stirling player shrugs off a challenge. Photo: Kate Jackson Photographic

“We did speak to a couple of the clubs and sort of take in what kind of shape they’re playing, formation and all of that so we are aware of them,” Villic said.

Meanwhile, Balcatta hosts NPL league leaders Inglewood United at Grindleford Reserve – a replay of their round two NPL clash in which United were victors.

Inglewood head coach Taki Nicolaidis is expecting a competitive game, and expects his opponents to field a different team this time around.

“They’ve scored 12 goals in the last three games, so they’ve been playing with a lot of confidence,” Nicolaidis said.

Nicolaidis said there was extra pressure in cup games.

“We understand that things can change very quickly and its tough games like this one here that if you’re not on song and have an off day then the consequences are that you could get beaten and could get eliminated,” Nicolaidi said.

“We’re confident that whoever we’re up against, we’ve got the numbers and the talent to overcome whoever.”

In the other ties, Cockburn City hosts Gosnells City and Floreat Athena will take on Armadale SC.