Green Gully remains focused despite 28 day wait

Evan Christodoulou pulled out the party tricks for Green Gully in the last round of the FFA Cup. Picture Scott Barbour/Getty Images


It seems like an eternity between games for Green Gully.

The Cavaliers have long finished their NPL season, their last competitive game in the FFA Cup on August 30 when they took down local rivals Melbourne Knights in the round of 16.

With their success in the nationwide cup competition, season 2016 will continue for the Cavs with a much-anticipated FFA Cup quarter-final showdown with Canberra Olympic in the nation’s capital on September 27. That will be a massive 28 days between competitive games for the Cavs.

Their coach, Arthur Papas, has the challenge of keeping the players and support staff focused on football in what must seem like a mini off season.

“We’re looking at ways of keeping the players engaged,” he told

Star Weekly. “I’ve been in this situation before and it doesn’t really faze me personally. Last year, I had Oakleigh in the quarter-finals and we had the same situation. If anything, we had longer to wait because we didn’t make the finals, but we went to Adelaide MetroStars and got the win.

“With thorough planning and the players knowing what’s coming up, I’m sure they’re going to be fighting for spots for that game.”

There is much at stake for Green Gully in their 90 minutes against Canberra Olympic.

If they can pull off a win, they will likely meet an A-League opponent at the semi-final stage, which brings national television exposure for the club and a shopfront for the players.

The toughest part for the Cavs players is their semi-professional status. Most players have nine-to-five jobs or are going to university; some will have had to cancel holiday plans.

“When you’re working in the semi- professional environment, that’s the toughest part. We’ve all got jobs, so we’re all working during the day,” Papas said.

“A lot of people look forward to this time of year to get some rest and relaxation, but I wouldn’t swap it for the world. We’re all in a position where we want to try and progress and get this club to the next round.

“If that means we have to go an extra two months, I don’t think there’s anything better in the world than being part of football on a competitive level on a nationwide scale and having our club and our players and our staff spoken about in such high esteem.”

Green Gully knows it will be in for a hard time against Canberra Olympic, who were minor premiers of NPL Capital Football this season, losing just three games.

“I don’t look at the draw as a favourable one,” Papas said.

“I just look at it as a very difficult game. We’re going to have to travel away. We haven’t had to do that this year in the FFA Cup, so that’s a new experience for the group.

“They’ve had great results to get to this stage and they’re not playing off in the grand final for nothing, so they’re obviously very accomplished in their own league.”