Story By Christi Terry
SOCCER fans are in for more excitement from local club Palm Beach Sharks when they clash with Central Coast Mariners in the FFA Cup quarter-final tonight at Robina’s CBus Stadium.
Riding high after a phenomenal season where they took out both the National Premier League’s big trophies, club expectations are positive for the local team’s tangle with A-League club Mariners.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
Manager Rob Morris is enthusiastic by what many consider a surprising season.
“The boys have had a fantastic season,” he said.
“Nobody, I don’t think even the players, expected to see the amount of success.
“It’s taken all of us a little bit by surprise, and we’re overwhelmed by how great they’re going.
“They show a level of commitment that’s amazing.”
Coach Grae Piddick believes the Fox coverage will provide valuable visibility for the club.
“For young players who want to go professional, it puts them in the shop window so to speak,” he said.
“The fact it’s televised puts them on the national stage.”
Club captain Justyn McKay agrees there’s a unique opportunity in a clash against one of the ten best professional soccer teams in Australia.
“It’s important we give a good account of ourselves, put our club on the map, and for some of the younger lads it’s a good opportunity to show the professional teams that they’ve got what it takes to play for professionals,” he said.
The team captain urges supporters to attend CBus Stadium, with hopes for a turnout of 5000 fans on Tuesday night.
“It’s always a good buzz playing in front of a bunch of fans,” McKay said.
“They say the crowd can act as the twelfth man, and it’s true because sometimes you need a boost during those games when you’re feeling a little tired and under pressure. Just to get some crowd support would be great.”
But aspirations for professional league status never override a ‘boys next door’ hometown attitude.
When asked about his vision for the club, left back Eoghan Murphy exercised typical Sharks word economy.
“We want A-League, and we’re just working away at getting it,” he said.
“We’re the quiet achievers.”
The Palm Beach Sharks will meet the Central Coast Mariners on Tuesday at CBus stadium. Entry is $10, with kick-off at 6.30pm.