Newcastle club Adamstown Rosebud is just two games away from an historic appearance in the final 32 of the FFA Cup.
Rosebud take on local rivals Valentine FC this Saturday as eight Northern NSW Football sides battle for the final two Cup spots remaining.
A place in the round of 32 would be a welcome boost for the club that was promoted back into the Northern NSW National Premier League from the NEWFM First Division 18 months ago after a seven-year absence.
Rosebud, which was founded in 1889, is one of the oldest football clubs in Australia. It represented Newcastle in the NSL in the 1980s and has produced countless Socceroos over the past 100 years.
Rosebud head coach Graham Law said it would be great for his club to take part in the final 32.
“With the long proud history that Adamstown Rosebud have in Australian football I think it would be fitting if this famous old club had its day in the sun again,” Law told FourFourTwo.
“For the club itself, this would be a great gift to give back to all the committee, volunteers, youth players, parents, sponsors and anyone else connected with the club for all the unselfish hard work they do.
“We sat down with the players at the start of the year and as a squad discussed what we wanted to achieve collectively this season and qualification to the last 32 of the FFA Cup was very much on the agenda.
“It will be very tough on the players of all clubs as the players are going to be tested mentally and physically with the winning teams having to play a minimum of 180 minutes within a 24-30 period.”
Rosebud defeated Charlestown City Blues 5-4 in round five, Weston Workers Bears 6-0 in round four and Kotara South 4-1 in round three of the competition. Law described the FFA Cup as a “breath of fresh air” for Australian football.
“Playing all my football in the UK I was used to 30 plus games in a season and it has taken some getting used to only playing in a 18 game competition, so any more competitive fixtures that can extend our season are always welcome,” the Scotsman said.
“The competition has been very well received in the Northern NSW football community and you only have to look at the strength of teams the clubs have been putting on the park to realise the importance the clubs have placed on the competition.”
Law knows Rosebud’s opponents, NEWFM 1st division side Valentine FC, well.
“I coached against them when I was head coach of Maitland last season in 1st division,” he said. “Maitland won the double the league and promotion to NPL and also the grand final and Valentine pushed us all the way in both competitions.
“I have a huge amount of respect for their team and they have a few talented individuals and since the draw was made I have been to see them twice such is my respect for them.”
Rosebud will take on Valentine FC without star Irish striker Guy Bates, who has left the club after failing to secure an international transfer. The former Newcastle Jet had scored four goals in seven appearances in the Northern NSW NPL this season but was later found to be registered incorrectly.
Former Sydney FC, Newcastle and Central Coast Mariners midfielder Stuart Musialik will also be unavailable.
“Guy has accepted a contract to go back full-time with Linfield in the Irish Premier Division and we wish him all the best,” Law said.
“Stuart Musialik has been coming back from a long term injury and is still building up his strength and fitness with the reserve team currently. Off the pitch his impact has been great as he has been a huge asset to have around the club.”
Rosebud is currently in sixth place in the Northern NSW NPL with four wins, three draws and three losses from 10 games.
“Having won away to second placed Weston 2-1 at the weekend we now find ourselves sitting within striking distance of the top four and we play three of the top four in our next four games after the FFA Cup,” Law said.
“I feel we are now getting the points to match the performances and hopefully now find ourselves in an area of the league that the players’ performances are deserving off.
“We honestly could not catch a break in the first six games of the season and found ourselves drawing games that our performances perhaps warranted a win and losing games that we simply should not have lost. But that’s football right.”
Broadmeadow Magic take on South Armidale United, Edgeworth FC play Coffs City United and West Wallsend FC face Jesmond FC in the other Northern NSW FFA Cup ties this weekend.