With the draw completed and the details set, the FFA Cup’s Round of 32 is almost upon us.
At present, the FFA Cup presents the only opportunity for clubs from outside of the Australian top tier to mix it with A-League sides; presenting an intoxicating clash of styles, culture, and histories as the Australian footballing community experiences the magic of the Cup.
In this preview, dailyfootballshow.com looks at the side of Football Federation Tasmania that will be competing in this year’s Cup.
Devonport City – known as the Strikers – return to the FFA Cup Round of 32 for the second time in 2018, having advanced to the Round of 16 in the 2016 tournament before being eliminated 1-0 by NPL Victoria’s Bentleigh Greens.
Playing their games out of the Valley Road Ground, the Strikers home is in the far-North Tasmanian city of Devonport, 100km to the Northwest of Launceston and the docking site of the Iconic Spirit of Tasmania ferry.
The Strikers famously played host to football icon George Best In 1989, the Welsh superstar visiting the club at the behest of then-manager Ken Morton and playing with the Strikers in a 2-2 draw with a select Tasmanian XI in front of a crowd of 1800 people at Valley Road.
Presently a member of the eight-team NPL TAS, the Strikers currently sit in the first position in the Tasmanian top flight, three points clear of second-placed Launceston City.
Commencing their journey to the national stage with a comprehensive 7-0 thrashing of Tasmanian Southern Championship side New Town Eagles in the fourth round of preliminary qualifying, the Strikers were then taken to extra time by fellow NPL TAS side Olympia Warriors in round five: with the 2-2 score after 90 minutes giving way to a 4-3 scoreline at the end of 120 minutes.
A more straightforward 2-1 victory over NPL TAS side Northern Rangers then followed, before the Strikers secured their progression to the Round of 32 with a 1-0 defeat of South Hobart thanks to a goal from Miles Bernard at the KGV Football Park.
Spearheaded on the pitch by striker and self-described poetry lover Brayden Mann, who leads NPL TAS with 11 goals after 12 rounds, the Strikers are managed by 26-year-old former Manly United technical director Chris Gallo, who also has previous experience with Hull City, York City, Notts County and the England U16 side.
Round of 32 Fixture: @ Northcote City, Veneto Club, 7 August, 7:30