FFA Cup Match Preview: Mount Druitt Town Rangers v Wollongong Wolves

As the first club to qualify for the 2021 edition of the FFA Cup, the Wollongong Wolves have had to wait longer than anyone for this year's tournament. 

The watchful eye of former Socceroo Luke Wilkshire guided the Illawarra club to the NPL Australia title back in 2019, sealing passage to the Round of 32 for the third time in the club's history. 

Wilkshire couldn't help but chuckle and joke, “I can’t believe I waited two years for that!" when it was revealed that the Wolves had drawn fellow NPL NSW outfit Mount Druitt Town Rangers as their first Cup assignment.

Mount Druitt's Popondetta Park will play host to the first FFA Cup Final Rounds games in Sydney since the Western Sydney Wanderers comprehensively accounted for Sydney United 58 at Campbelltown Stadium all the way back in August 2019. 

Mount Druitt and Wollongong have battled it out plenty of times since then, with both sides sitting in sixth and seventh - just one point apart - when their season was curtailed by COVID-19 in 2021. 

Both sides enjoyed a 3-0 win at home against their upcoming opposition this year, and with Popondetta a notoriously tough place to visit, Stuart Montgomery may well feel his side are well poised to stop the Wolves dead in their tracks. 

How to watch the FFA Cup in 2021

Town Rangers defender Travis Oughtred knows what it's like to taste victory in the FFA Cup at that same location, having been part of the Manly United team who knocked out Mount Druitt on their own patch in the 2019 Round of 32. 

Considering the brand-new pathway on offer in the new-look competition this year, the former Manly man has an interesting take on how he'd like the draw to suit his side moving forward.

“Last time out I was with Manly United, and we knocked out the Rangers in the Round of 32 in extra time, so hopefully I can help get us to the Round of 16 and beyond," Oughtred told Football NSW. 

“Of course, everyone would love to get an A-League team except me, I’m happy to draw as easy as possible and then win the final. I’m very keen to take part in the AFC Asian Champions League.”

Both sides will be relatively new-look outfits heading into this contest, with the off-season transfer window coming early due to the NPL NSW's abrupt conclusion. 

Mount Druitt have welcomed Louis Khoury from the Central Coast Mariners and Rhett DeSilva from Blacktown City, while Matt Symes is expected to fill the hefty void vacated by former captain Carlos Saliadarre between the sticks. 

Jennings eyes FFA Cup showdown against Rangers

Wollongong, on the other hand, appeared to have pulled off some handy transfers as they look to rebuild the momentum that saw Wilkshire's side build up near-unstoppable form back in 2019. 

Nick Littler, Guy Knight, Peter Simonoski and Josh Macdonald, who have all previously tasted success in a Wolves shirt return, while Japanese defender Banri Kanaizumi has made the move south from Rockdale alongside midfielder Takumu Tsujimura - who will add some spice to this Cup tie having represented the Rangers last season. 

Attacking livewire Leroy Jennings joined the Wolves ahead of the 2021 campaign, and while admitting preparation for this matchup has been far from ideal, he cannot wait to pull on the famous Red and White and go to battle on the national stage. 

“We started training as a team three weeks ago which isn’t too long for a team to build that perfect chemistry and gel, but we are definitely doing our best to come together," he told Football NSW. 

“This is a huge match and moment for the club because it gives us a chance to compete around the country and represent the region here should we progress further.

“It’s a great club full of history and success and they deserve to be playing in these big and important games.”

Will the Wolves' wait be worth it? Or will it be a Town Rangers party at Poppondetta? 

Either way, come Saturday night, one of these two clubs will have advanced to the FFA Cup Round of 16 for the first time in their history, and will be dreaming of what's to come. 

You can buy tickets for the match here, and for those unable to attend, you can watch every second live & free via 10 Play

For international viewers, the game will be available to watch via our official YouTube channel

FFA Cup 2021 Round of 32 - Click here for the full schedule





Kick-Off (Local)

Kick-Off (AEDT)

Saturday, 6 November

Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC (NSW)

Wollongong Wolves FC (NSW)

Popondetta Park, Emerton, NSW