The 2014 Cool Ridge Cup takes centre stage this weekend, with 16 games across the metropolitan area. In any cup competition around the world, all clubs know they are great levellers, and many National Premier Leagues WA clubs face tricky ties against lower league opposition.
One of them is State Division Two side Forrestfield United, who make the trip to the ECU Football Stadium to take on ECU Joondalup on Saturday. The club have slipped dramatically down the leagues in recent seasons, but under the guidance of coach Rod Banjac they are heading back in the right direction.
Banjac, who was involved with the Future Glory side in 2002, left the game after his stint - but he’s back with the bang now, and Forrestfield head into Saturday’s game with a spring in their step.
“Working closely with legendary Frank Arok at the Future Glory was amazing. He was a fantastic person and a footballing genius who was in charge of the Australian National Team for eight years,” said Banjac.
“He is considered 'the father of the Socceroos' and played his part in compiling the FFA Football Curriculum, so to work with him was unbelievable and I learnt a great deal.
“But after leaving the Future Glory, I lost every desire to take part in the game but I’m now refreshed and ready to take Forrestfield back where they belong.”
Banjac knows Forrestfield will have to be at their best to get a result against ECU, but he knows they don’t have anything to lose.
“If we don't get caught out by the pace of the game in the early stages, I believe that we will do well. We will give it a good go, and will treat this game as another pre-season game, as we prepare for the league opener next week.”
Cool Ridge Cup holders Bayswater City face a re-match of last year’s final when the meet Ashfield at Frank Drago Reserve.
Bayswater won 1-0 last year with a late goal from Steve Burton – and coach Chris Coyne is anticipating another tricky contest.
“They were well organised with a tight defence and I reckon their game plan will be somewhat similar, so we’ll take nothing for granted,” said Coyne, whose side are unbeaten so far in the NPL.
Struggling Floreat Athena take on amateur premier league side Perth Royals at Litis Stadium without coach Chris Barbas, who resigned earlier in the week after losing 2-0 away to Stirling Lions.
There’s added spice to this year’s Cool Ridge Cup with the two finalists gaining entry to the inaugural national FFA Cup competition, which starts on July 29.
Cool Ridge Cup ties, Saturday 3pm: Joondalup United v Bunbury Forum Force (Beldon Park), Kingsley v Rockingham City (Chichester Park), Cockburn City v Wanneroo City (Dalmatinac Park), Dianella White Eagles v Armadale (Dianella Reserve), Perth SC v Port Kennedy (Dorrien Gardens), ECU Joondalup v Forrestfield United (ECU Football Stadium), Curtin University v UWA-Nedlands FC (UWA Sports Park), Bayswater City v Ashfield (Frank Drago Reserve), Fremantle United v Kingsway Olympic (Hilton Reserve), Joondalup City v Stirling Lions (Iluka Sports Complex), Floreat Athena v Perth Royals (Litis Stadium), Fremantle Croatia v Shamrock Rovers (Len Packham Reserve), Melville City v Balcatta (Len Shearer Reserve), Swan United v Sorrento (Swan Italian Club), Mandurah City v Subiaco (Hyundai Stadium), North Perth United v Inglewood United (Woodville Reserve).