Noosa's second chance for FFA Cup after Kawana penalty
FOOTBALL: With its FFA Cup campaign surprisingly revived, Noosa is eager to make the most of a second chance.
The Lions crashed out of the nationwide knockout competition last month, in an apparent fourth-round loss to Kawana.
But the Sunshine Beach-based side on Friday was suddenly welcomed back into the cup after it was discovered the Force fielded an ineligible player late in that lopsided game.
Now, Noosa is quickly preparing for a round-five clash with Sunshine Coast Fire at Girraween tonight, where victory can propel the side closer to a match against an A-League team.
"It (the recall) came as a bit of a shock," coach Ben Cahn said. "It's a chance we've been given that we didn't necessarily deserve. So we'll go and enjoy it and make the most of it."
Cahn said his charges would play with free rein, which makes the Sunshine Coast Football premier men's side a dangerous proposition for its more fancied National Premier League Queensland rival.
"There's no pressure on us," Cahn said.
"We didn't expect to be playing this game at all. Our focus had turned towards the (local) league."
Third in the local league this season, the Lions have experienced a solid season, but Cahn said his team was getting better.
He believes his side can beat the Fire, which is fifth in the NPLQ standings.
"We've got some excellent footballers. We've got some players who have been at the Fire and we've got some players who could be at the Fire if they had the time," he said.
"Player for player there's probably not too much difference between our squads. But they train three nights a week and play a very high intensity against good opposition."
Matt Thompson looms as a weapon for Noosa, after scoring a hat-trick in a win over Coolum on Saturday.
"He's in a great run of form and is very enthusiastic at the moment and he'll be hungry for this because he's had a couple of training sessions and a couple of pre-seasons with the Fire in the past and it hasn't quite worked out for him. So it's a big one for him," Cahn said.
But Noosa will be without Dave McRae, who suffered a likely career-ending knee injury a fortnight ago.
"At his age and the stage of life he's at with his family and work that's sadly his career done, which is a huge loss to us and a huge loss to the game because for me he's probably the best midfielder in the league," he said.
Kawana told the Daily on Friday that it would appeal Football Queensland's decision.
Round five is due to be completed tonight, but the Force is more interested in clearing the club's name than in playing.
NOOSA v SUNSHINE COAST
Tonight, Sunshine Beach, 7.30pm