A ROAR went across the lounge at The George Tavern when it was revealed the Maitland Magpies would play Central Coast Mariners in the FFA Cup round of 32.

The Maitland FC players and supporters had gathered together to watch the draw on Fox Sports and everything they hoped for was delivered. “The buzz around the club is electric. When we got drawn a cheer went up around the whole pub,” Magpies coach Mick Bolch said. “Everyone is really excited about it.”

“We’ll give it a red-hot crack and back ourselves but at the end of the day being realistic they’re an A-League side, a bunch of professional footballers, and we’re a bunch of part-timers who train once or twice a week and all have full-time jobs.

“We’re the underdogs going into it, it’s the first time we’ve been into this stage of the Cup, but I’m sure we’ll give a good account of the club and a good account of the region.

“We’re pushing really hard for the Maitland Sportsground. Last night among all the hype we had a couple of Maitland City councillors there at the draw and they said they were definitely behind us playing there.

“It will cost at least $16,000 in hiring temporary lighting to bring the lighting at the Maitland Sportsground up to the required level of 500 lux to host a live telecast of the night game.”

The game is expected to be telecast live on Fox Sports and held midweek in either the last week of July or the fist week of August. Bolch said when it became apparent that Maitland was among the four state league teams to draw an A-League opponent the preference was to play Central Coast Mariners.

“It’s a local derby of sorts, it’s the best possible scenario for us,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of Newcastle and Maitland fans will come along on the night to cheer for us.

“It is a great showcase for our young talent. Guys like Zach Thomas, who has had an outstanding year, Jimmy Thompson, young Tommy Duggan, even the like of Nick Cowburn.

“I am pretty sure it will be a live game on Fox Sports, so to showcase some of them young guys is great.” One of the most excited among the playing group was former Mariners goal keeper Matt Trott.

“Trotty played for the Mariners and is buzzing like an 18-year-old about getting to play against his old club,” Bolch said.

In the meantime, Maitland play Lambton Jaffas at Arthur Edden Oval on Saturday afternoon in round 15 of the Northern NSW NPL.

“We’ve got four massive games before we play the FFA Cup. At the end of the day they are all massive games for us whether it’s Lambton Jaffas, Magic or Valo, you’ve got to turn up and be on your job every weekend,” Bolch said.

MAITLAND MERCURY – Michael Hartshorn (Friday 28th June, 2019)