This year Broadmeadow Magic are lining up for their second shot at the FFA Cup. After bowing out in the Round of 32 in the inaugural event last year, the Magic have been cursed by injuries, inconvenience and suspension this year.
Broadmeadow Magic are one of two Northern NSW NPL representatives in the FFA Cup, the other being competition leaders Edgeworth FC, who have drawn Melbourne City in the Round of 32.
Broadmeadow face the slightly easier assignment of Victorian NPL outfit Heidelberg United, albeit with a patched up backline. It’s expected that the Magic will go into the tussle minus both regular central defenders Jon Griffiths and Josh Piddington.
Griffiths received a nightmare two game suspension last week against Michael Bridges’ Lambton Jaffas. Piddington meanwhile, will have to defy the medical community by recovering from fractured ribs in less than three weeks. “I’m certainly doing everything I can do to get these bones healed as quickly as I can,” the defensive hard man told the Newcastle Herald.
Speaking with Broadmeadow’s co-manager Robert Virgili, there is a level of respect for the club’s Victorian opponents. The former NSL club are currently second in their NPL competition, and Virgili was aware of the team’s strengths through his Melbourne connections.
“They’re a direct side with mobility up front,” he said. But Broadmeadow will look to stifle that threat with their own strength.
Though sitting fifth in the NNSW NPL Broadmeadow are the competition’s highest goal scorers. “Our strength is our attack,” Virgili said. Hinting at some cautious play early, the manager was adamant that his side weren’t going to simply park the bus.
The home side will also be hamstrung by the late arrival of club legend Peter Haynes who is away on a coaching assignment in Japan. The goalscoring threat will arrive in Australia on the day of the match, just like he did for last year’s FFA Cup tie with Brisbane Strikers.
On a personal level Virgili said, that a meeting with an A-League club in a full competition scenario would be the pinnacle for him.
He and co-manager Bob Naumov will need to overcome Heidelberg United for that opportunity to present itself. After winning three grand finals and two premierships with Broadmeadow Magic between 2011 and 2013, Virgil took time out, but was wooed back by the ‘magic of the cup’.
Virgili was impressed by the exposure NPL clubs received last year and was genuinely surprised by the success of the FFA Cup. While Broadmeadow Magic vs Heidelberg United will not feature as the main game on Foxsports next Wednesday, there will be single camera coverage to ensure every goal is captured.
In an honest assessment of his team’s hopes Virgili said, “On our day, at our best (we could win), but with them guys out it may be the difference.”
Nevertheless, Broadmeadow are in with a fighting chance and they’ll know that the history of underdogs doing the unthinkable is what makes cup football so magical.
NOTE: Match kicks off at Wanderers Oval (a.k.a Magic Park) 7:30pm, Wednesday 29th July. Heidelberg United fans should use the nearby Broadmeadow Station for convenient access to the ground (less than 10 mins walk).