An incredible 772 member federation clubs competed for a spot in the FFA Cup Round of 32, and those 772 have now been whittled down to 22.
Ten Hyundai A-League clubs will join them to make up the Round of 32, but it’s those member federation clubs where some of the best stories can be found.
From the rich heritage of one of New South Wales powerhouse to the giant-killing run of one second-tier Western Australia entrant, and a qualifying clean sheet in the Northern Territory.
In the third of five dives into narratives surrounding the entrants in the 2018 edition of the FFA Cup, we take a look at Western Australian underdogs Gwelup Croatia, their incredible run to the Round of 32 and just how far they can go.
A suburb of Perth and one of two entrants to the Round of 32 from Western Australia, Gwelup Croatia is one of only two sides at this stage of the competition which isn’t in its state’s top division.
If they’re a club which you’ve not heard of before, then you’re probably not alone. Gwelup only gained promotion to the second tier of Western Australia football at the end of last season.
It was the culmination of back-to-back promotion effort which has lifted Gwelup Croatia from the fourth to second division.
Given their good run in the league this season we may yet see them in the NPL WA next season.
RUN TO THE ROUND OF 32
As if it’s not already impressive enough that Gwelup Croatia, a team on the third level of the Australian football pyramid, is in the Round of 32 then you should check out the teams they managed to knock off to get there.
The final three rounds of qualifying handed them draws against three NPL WA opponents, which is a big ask for any side, let alone a Division One team.
Waver Gwelup did not, beating now-second place NPL WA side Cockburn City 3-1 in their fifth-round matchup.
A 2-1 win over Subiaco AFC followed, and a seventh-round 4-1 victory over Floreat Athena secured a famous passage into the Round of 32.
Just getting this far in the competition will have been beyond the wildest dreams of most at Gwelup Croatia, and any thoughts of going further will be tempered by what is a tough Round of 32 match-up.
Before that though, is the WA State Cup Final which Gwelup will contest with fellow Round of 32 entrant Armadale SC.
A home tie in the Round of 32 to South Australia’s sole representative Adelaide Comets follows, slated for 8:30pm (AEST) kickoff on the opening day of the FFA Cup proper, July 25.
Any kind of result would be massive and would keep the fairy tale story alive. Gwelup has proved giant killer on three occasions in the FFA Cup so far this season – why not four?