Sorrento will be flying the flag for West Australian football on Wednesday evening when they take on PS4 NPL Victoria side South Melbourne at Lakeside Stadium in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16.
Their participation in the match marks the first time a Member Federation club from WA has reached the Round of 16.
South Melbourne are a powerhouse club in Victorian football and have won the league title on ten occasions, including last season.
Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell, who previously captained Perth Glory, has played against South Melbourne over the years and is looking forward to the challenge on Wednesday.
“When the draw was made, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face,” he said.
“South Melbourne are a big and very proud club, the facilities are fantastic and it’s a great place to play.
“I always enjoyed going over to play them when I was with the Glory, and always knew it would be a tough game.
“This is certainly no different and they have a very strong, experienced squad who will be expecting to win.”
The Gulls reached the Round of 16 stage with a 1-0 win against Canberra Olympic, which Harnwell said was a great achievement for the club and for WA football.
“The game against Canberra was a great night and we knew we would create a bit of history by winning,” he said.
“To be the first WA member fed club into this stage is fantastic and hopefully it doesn’t stop there.”
The Gulls’ success has not come overnight, with Harnwell and fellow coaches Steve Neville and Michael Johnson aiming to lift the profile of the club.
“I think you have to pay credit to the whole club for the continual evolution at Sorrento,” he said.
“The committee have supported Steve, Michael and I in everything we have tried to implement and the players have bought into what we want to achieve as well.
“When that happens it gives you a good platform for success.”
South Melbourne are second on the PS4 NPL Victoria ladder, three points behind leaders Heidelberg United, who knocked Perth Glory out of the Westfield FFA Cup in the last round.
Coach Chris Taylor has a squad brimming with former A-League players, including captain Bradley North who played for Adelaide United, Matt Millar and Stefan Zinni from Melbourne City, Luke Pavlou from Brisbane Roar, and New Zealand international and former Wellington Phoenix defender Luke Adams.
Striker Milos Lujic bagged the only goal in South Melbourne’s win against Edgeworth Eagles in the Round of 32, scoring in the 94th minute to see them into the Round of 16.
Harnwell said the match is a chance for players and coaches to showcase what they are capable of.
“We are certainly proud to be representing the PS4 NPLWA on the national stage,” he said.
“I think the standard of the competition here probably isn’t given the credit it deserves and it would be great to see Sorrento FC make a statement by beating South Melbourne and progressing to the next round.”
South Melbourne v Sorrento
Wednesday August 23, 2017
Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park, VIC
Kick-off: 5.30pm WST