Balcatta are determined to make the most of their final-day qualification for the NPL Top Four Cup when the post-season competition begins on Saturday.
Head coach Goran Stajic and his team are usually feet up by now, relieved to have survived. Things are different this year.
Balcatta have a knockout semi-final away at Floreat Athena to look forward to, on the back of their thrilling fourth-place finish last week. They needed to beat relegated Stirling Lions and hope Bayswater City lost at home to Cockburn. Their multi came in.
“It’s completely different to where we’ve been the last few years, fighting relegation,” Stajic said. “Now we have this opportunity.
“Last year we conceded 56, 58 goals and that was something I really needed to work on. It’s been about staying in games for as long as we possibly can and thankfully a lot of the close ones have gone our way.”
Stajic said there was no escaping the drama of what was taking place last Saturday. “The crowd was letting us know what was going on. We knew when Cockburn scored, then Bayswater and Cockburn again.”
Now the boss’s focus turns to Saturday’s semi-final at E&D Litis Stadium against cup specialists Floreat, who have won the Night Series and Belt Up Cup in 2019.
“They have a lot of individual brilliance and so I just hope it doesn’t come to the fore,” Stajic said. “We can’t give their captain (Dean Evans) too many chances, especially set-pieces.
“And (Robert) Petkov up front is a handful … we might have to put a monster on him because he’s certainly a monster.”
The winners of Saturday’s game at E&D Litis Stadium will face the losers of the other semi-final between NPL champions Perth SC and Cockburn City. The winners of the Dorrien Gardens tie will go straight to the final.
All of the NPL Top Four Cup and Under 20 Top Four Cup games will be livestreamed on the Football West Facebook and YouTube pages.
Saturday, September 7
NPL WA Top Four Cup
Stirling Lions v Bayswater City (10am)
Byswater City v Perth SC (12.30pm – live stream)
Perth SC v Inglewood United (3pm – live stream)
E&D Litis Stadium
Perth Glory v Perth SC (10am)
Perth Glory v Cockburn City (12.30pm – live stream)
Floreat Athena v Balcatta (3pm – live stream)