Kicking cousins: Smiths relish FFA Cup face-off

Matt Smith will face his cousin Rikki Smith on a football field for the first time when Brisbane Roar meet the Stirling Lions in the FFA Cup tonight.

The cousins are relishing the chance to get one over each other in a match that pits the A-League giants against the West Australian National Premier League outfit.

Before this, Roar skipper Matt said he and Rikki only ever played against each other in their UK gardens when they were both kids.

“I’d say we were close - our respective families brought us to Australia at different times,” Matt said.

“But it’s been in recent years when we’ve both lived here at the same time (that) we chat and text regularly.

“Whenever I go to Perth and play we always catch up and he’s been over for all three grand finals, which has become a family good luck charm.”

Socceroo defender Matt, who recently turned out for the A-League All-Stars against Juventus, can’t wait for the FFA Cup tie.

“Of course, it creates extra spice with the family competitiveness,” he said.

“The banter has already started with family and friends back in England - there will be a few watching with interest for bragging rights.

“I think whoever wins will hold the bragging rights potentially forever because the chances of playing against each other again in a competitive game are slim.

“I’m sure we’re both going to enjoy the FFA Cup spectacle in what should be a good night for football.”

Rikki Smith, 27, moved to Australia six years ago.

“We all sort of grew up together, we’re a close family,” the right back said.

“Our dads are brothers and they’ve got quite a few siblings so we’re quite a big family.

“Matt’s a little bit older than me so I’ve always watched him, even when we were younger, when he was at Portsmouth and that.

“We’re as close as we can be living on other sides of the country. I go over to Queensland a few times each year to see Matt and the family.”

Rikki admits drawing Brisbane Roar out of all the possible FFA Cup teams, and the chance to play against his cousin, was a dream.

The way the draw went was pretty exciting,” he said.

“I’m really, really looking forward to the game. It’s going to be a big challenge for us to test ourselves against those players at the next level.

“And for me personally it’s a good opportunity to lock horns with Matt. It’s a bit of a dream come true I suppose.”

Normally a centre half like Matt, Rikki has been playing at right back since joining the Lions at the start of this season.

The defender is under no illusions about the task his team faces in trying to defeat the current A-League grand final and Premier’s Plate winners, but said his teammates are not short of motivation.

“It will take something pretty impressive to turn them over but they’ve got to come over here and play on a Tuesday night,” Rikki said.

“The pitch we’re playing at is very tight, which will probably suit us, it won’t give them much space to play.

“Me and Matt have had a few text messages back and forth. He’s been off with the All Stars so with any luck it’ll tire him out and he won’t be fresh. But no doubt they’ll be ready to go.

“We’ve got a lot of players in my team, including myself - although you’re starting to push on to your late twenties - who still have aspirations.

“It’ll be the same for anyone, no matter what level you play at, you always look at that next level and what you’ve got to do and how close you are to playing it.

“So for us there is no better side in the country for us to see where we’re at and see if our ability is where we think it is.

“You never know, you play well and you never know who is watching the game. Opportunities might stem from that so it’s another big motivation."


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