FFA Cup quarter-final preview: Palm Beach Sharks v Central Coast Mariners

Can the Sharks make the semi-finals of the FFA Cup and write another giant-killing chapter in the Cup?

They'll have their toughest test yet when the Mariners - fresh from an F3 derby triumph - meet them at Cbus Stadium on Tuesday night.

FFA Cup Quarter Finals – Week 1 Fixture
Tuesday, 14 October 2014
Palm Beach Sharks v Central Coast Mariners
Cbus Super Stadium, Robina (QLD)
Kick-off: 6.30pm local (7:30pm AEDT)
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Where can I watch?:  Fox Sports 2

Palm Beach Sharks squad: 1.Shane VITAKANGAS (GK), 2.Riley DILLON, 3.Jordan MASON, 4.Ethan GRIMLEY, 5.Ben BUTLER, 7.Justyn McKAY, 9.Christopher LUCAS, 10.Scot GOLDSMITH-SCOTT, 11.Nikola MIRKOVIC, 12.Daniel GRZIC, 13.Newie COBBO, 14.Jonathon CAMILLERI, 15.Eoghan MURPHY, 16.Jack BOXELL, 17.Kristian REES, 18.Troy RUTHVEN, 19.Daniel DRAGICEVIC, 20.Jack LITTLEJOHN (GK), 23.Karl DODD

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Beyhan IRMAKO (GK), 3.Joshua ROSE, 5.Zachary ANDERSON, 6.Brent GRIFFITHS, 7.John HUTCHINSON, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 9.Mitchell DUKE, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (GK), 13.Hayden MORTON, 15.Storm ROUX, 17.Anthony CACERES, 18.Michael NEILL, 20.Anthony KALIK, 22.Tom SLATER, 25.Eddy BOSNAR, 27.Isaka CERNAK, 28.Glen TRIFIRO

FFA Cup quarter final action starts on Tuesday night with a ripper on the Gold Coast as the Palm Beach Sharks hosts the Hyundai A-League’s Central Coast Mariners.

Can the Sharks overcome their lack of competitive football over the last month and book a shock semi-final berth by sinking their teeth into the Mariners?

It won’t be an easy task but judging by some of their performances this season you would never write off Grae Piddick’s side.

They won through to the last eight by knocking out giant-killers South Springvale in the last round and will relish a shot at the ‘big boys’, especially on their home turf.

While the Sharks haven’t played a competitive match since they were knocked out of the PS4 NPL finals by Bonnyrigg last month, they have been ticking over with a few practice matches and tough training sessions at their Gold Coast base.

In striker Chris Lucas they have a proven goal-scorer who will pounce on any chance he is given. With designs on earinng a professional contract, this is a chance for him to show a Hyundai A-League club just what he is capable of.

Ex-Gold Coast United defender Kristian Rees has been a leading light for the Sharks in their Cup run, while skipper Justyn McKay and Daniel Dragicevic will also be vital to the home side’s chances.

Dragicevic is racing the clock to be fit after suffering a hamstring injury in the club’s Queensland NPL grand final against Olympic FC.

The Sharks will be desperate to have Dragicevic on deck as  they take on a Mariners outfit that had a winning start to their Hyundai A-League season over the weekend.

It will be interesting to see if coach Phil Moss sticks with those players or decides to freshen up his side which played a physical and energy-sapping 90-minutes just three days earlier.

The likes of Nick Fitzgerald, Isaka Cernak and Glen Trifiro are options if Moss opts to ring the changes for this one.

The Mariners know how to head north and get the job done in this competition, having defeated another Queensland NPL side in the previous round, a 3-1 victory over Olympic FC.
With the first spot in the last four up for grabs, it should be and ripping tie between two good sides which should go down to the wire over 90 – and possible 120 – thrilling minutes.