39 teams remain in contention for the four Queensland FFA Cup qualifying positions. Over the next week and a half, that number will be whittled down to 27.
The Brisbane Canale Travel Cup sees the Trophy Superstore Premier Leagues enter the fray while the regional NPL sides commence cup competition against their local zone winners.
Here’s a look at the matches that will be decided over the period.
Tuesday 15 April
South-West Queensland Zone
South-West Queensland Thunder vs Willowburn, Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba 7pm
It’s been a hapless start to the NPL season for the South-West Queensland Thunder having not recorded a win in six games and conceding 39 goals in the process.
Willowburn in contrast, while obviously in a league of a different standard, have won both of their competitive league matches so far and lead the Toowoomba Premier League. Their cup path to this match has seen them defeat Chinchilla (6-0), University of Southern Queensland (6-3) and Nanango (2-1). They have the benefit of having the weekend off after their opponents forfeited their Premier League match.
On the balance, it would seem a tough task for the NPL side, Thunder, with their bunch of youngsters to win against a team who has been in winning form and therefore would seemingly go into the match with greater confidence.
The winner of this match will go on to play Palm Beach NPL.
Brisbane Canale Travel Cup
Bayside United v Ipswich Knights, Don Randall Oval, 7:30pm
Bayside, up until two weeks ago, were flying high and leading Brisbane’s second-tier Capital 1 League. However, their two most recent results have thrown a spanner in the works with an unexpected heavy loss to Pine Hills and a draw against lower table North Pine. Bayside defeated Southside Eagles 3-1 in their only Cup match to date.
Knights on the other hand have had some encouraging results in the Trophy Superstore Premier League and on Sunday took it to more fancied side, Easts. With new recruits on board in recent weeks, things look to be on the up for the Ipswich side.
It’s a tough mid-week journey from Ipswich to Lota and this fixture should be a very competitive one with a winner tough to pick.
Holland Park Hawks v UQFC, Whites Hill Reserve, 7:30pm (*)
This poses quite an interesting match-up. Despite running last in the Trophy Superstore Premier League, the students have been playing some impressive football while Holland Park feature in the top two of Capital 2.
Holland Park have plenty of talent in their squad including Dean Le Petit who has been a constant in Brisbane football circles in recent years, including a solid season with NPL club Brisbane City last year.
A match where it wouldn’t be unexpected to see the lower tier team prevail.
Wednesday 16 April
North Queensland Zone
Northern Fury v Townsville Brothers, Townsville Sports Reserve, 7 pm
Both teams will go into this encounter refreshed after their respective matches on the weekend were postponed due to Cyclone Ita.
Northern Fury are arguably the form team of the NPL at the moment, sitting just outside the top four with striker Braedyn Crowley in fantastic goal scoring form.
Brothers have had to come through the North Queensland qualifiers the difficult way, having to win a pre-qualifying match against MA Olympic (3-1) to even make the main draw before recording victories against Saints Eagles Souths (9-0), Burdekin (2-1) and Warriors (2-0). They have also won both of their North Queensland Premier League matches to date.
The winner of this match will meet the victor of Sunday’s match between FNQ Heat and Mareeba.
Brisbane Canale Travel Cup
Capalaba v North Star, John Fredericks Park, 7pm
Two teams in 8th and 9th in the Trophy Superstore Premier League, Capalaba have shown that they can get a big result when they need it with their 2-2 draw against Peninsula in round 7.
North Star came within seconds of creating the upset of the season on Sunday when Lions were able to snatch a draw in stoppage time. Whichever side finds the level of consistency in terms of retaining possession and being clinical in front of goal will come out the winner.
Centenary v Virginia, Atthows Park, 7:30pm (*)
As luck would have it, these are the only surviving Capital 3 sides and both have had a quite impressive Cup run so far, particularly Centenary who in round two came back from 4-0 down with ten men after 15 minutes to record a 7-4 victory over Logan Village before scoring 8 second half goals against Capital 1 side, Brisbane Knights, in their last triumph.
Virginia defeated Slacks Creek in the previous round but only narrowly snuck through round two, needing penalties to defeat Toowong.
These sides haven’t met in the league yet and are not scheduled to play against each other until the final fixture of each round so we can’t gain a form line from that but to see a Capital 3 side, whichever club prevails, will add a level of intrigue to round 5 of the competition.
Brisbane Force v Lions, CJ Greenfield Reserve, 7:30pm
A very local derby with both clubs only a good goal kick away from each other. They have already met in round 4 of the League with Lions coming away very easy 6-0 winners.
The quality of the Lions squad should see a similar result in this one but as was seen over the weekend, if Lions aren’t on their game, an upset is on the cards.
Logan Lightning v The Gap, Chris Green Park, 7:30pm
Three wins in the League so far for Logan, including a 3-2 come from behind win over Rochedale on the weekend and things are starting to look a little more positive as the side starts to gel together.
They can’t afford to underestimate Capital 2 side The Gap who have progressed past Samford (5-0) and Park Ridge (2-0) in the Cup while also displaying great form in their League campaign. The Gap will be smarting after a heavy defeat to Ipswich City over the weekend and looking to redeem themselves.
This match is being played at Beenleigh and that long trip midweek will assist in Logan’s cause to progress to the next round.
Easts v Wolves, Heath Park, 7:30pm
Perhaps the match of this round in terms of where both sides lie in the Trophy Superstore Premier League table.
Wolves (2nd) have a perfect record to date, seven wins from seven matches to lead the league while Easts (3rd) have only dropped four points.
Previous encounters between these teams have been rather physical affairs so it promises to be a close tussle where either side could prevail, depending on how they perform on the night.
Thursday 17 April
Brisbane Canale Travel Cup
Annerley v Rochedale, Elder Oval, 7:30pm
Rochedale are in a place that we don’t normally expect to see them in on the Premier League table so this now represents their only real shot for silverware in 2014.
Annerley are in a similar position in Capital 1, running 10th with only one win and three draws. They needed penalties to advance to this round in defeating Pine Hills.
With that form, it’s hard to line up a winner so it will be the more desperate side on the night that will take this one.
Peninsula v Albany Creek, AJ Kelly Field, 7:30pm
Another local derby and these two sides might be sick of the sight of each other given they only met in the league on Sunday at the same venue where Peninsula came away the victor 3-1.
It’s difficult to see Peninsula come away from this without a win. They are an ambitious club and will be keen to launch a pathway to get their name known on the national stage and not only claim a FFA Cup final 32 place but also repeat their Cup Final win from last season.
Sunday 20 April
Far North Queensland Zone
Far North Queensland Heat v Mareeba United Bulls, Borzi Park Mareeba, 7:30pm (*)
Both sides go into this match with an interrupted preparation due to Cyclone Ita, FNQ Heat not playing a game in a fortnight while Mareeba’s last competitive match was a 6-0 win over Innisfail on 29 March in the FNQ Premier League.
The Heat will be buoyed by a turn in their NPL fortunes with a big win against SWQ Thunder and a 2-2 draw against the fancied Redlands, coach Peter Tokesi seemingly getting closer to determining what his best starting eleven is. Mareeba have defeated Innisfail (8-1), Douglas (2-0) and Stratford in a close 2-1 encounter to get through to this point of the Cup competition.
There is a bit of a twist in this match-up, the FNQ Bulls, based out of Mareeba, participated in the Queensland State League until it was terminated in 2012 to be replaced by the Heat as the FNQ representative with the formation of the NPL. The Bulls coach in 2012 where they made it to the finals series? Peter Tokesi.
The winner of this match takes on either Northern Fury or Townsville Brothers.
Wednesday 23 April
Sunshine Coast Zone
Sunshine Coast Fire v Caloundra, Stockland Stadium, 7pm (*)
Mixed form for the Fire so far in their NPL campaign. A run of three wins in a row a number of weeks ago had many thinking they had turned their early season poor form around. Successive defeats in recent weeks to Moreton Bay and then Redlands may have made a readjustment to those assessments and they are looking like a mid-table team this season.
Caloundra currently run 2nd in the Sunshine Coast Premier League with three wins from four. To get to this point, they have defeated Caboolture (11-0), Kawana (2-0) and in the previous round prevailed 2-1 over Noosa Lions. Former Sunshine Coast Fire coach, Richard Hudson, is at the helm of Caloundra and it should provide an interesting angle to this match.
On that form, Caloundra would fancy their chances in what could be a very physical match. The winner progresses to the next round to take on Gympie Diggers.
(*) denotes games that Queensland Soccer News expects to provide live coverage of.