The curse of Dolphin Oval strikes again and Brisbane’s run of bad luck in the FFA Cup continues. I’m going to call it an unfortunate coincidence that the first preseason game I have managed to watch this year we lost. I spent most of the match trying to remember O’Donovan and McGing are on our side now.
Without being able to watch many games of our Fowler recruited squad, I had no idea who anybody was. It’s hard to watch the walkout knowing all but one of our Ange era squad have moved on. Looking at the team line up and seeing all these unfamiliar names and faces of old rivals popping up I felt completely out of touch with the team. It’s funny because it’s things like this that make me realise it’s not the club, it’s the players and the staff who make it memorable. Even some of the familiar faces you would usually see behind the scenes aren’t around anymore. It is a definite reminder that we have entered a new era for the club.
Despite my nostalgia, it was exciting to see so many fresh faces playing a brand of football no one has fully witnessed yet, Fowler football. The Liverpool great seemed to pick a squad of tall, young (‘hot’ my straight friend has informed me) and lean players who are strong on the ball and not afraid to make exuberant tackles. Height (‘hotness’) and strength are something the squad has definitely lacked over the last few seasons, the only player who expressed these traits was Papadopoulos, he was on the older side, but he was definitely exuberant in tackles.
On what was a perfect night for football, it seemed this bravery in challenges was being showcased by both teams, leaving the referee, Alex King, calling Medicos on the field for several head injuries. Of course, each time a player went down injured Matt Simon seemed to be lurking nearby, not everything changes.
Simon also opened the scoring for the evening, converting a penalty and doing a very bizarre goal celebration. We at the Ladies League weren’t sure if he was trying to hide little Simon’s excitement or get his bowel movements under control. Perhaps he just wanted to add to the nice Gif collection we have over on Sokkah TwitterTM?
The Matt Simon goal celebration wasn’t the only gift we were given tonight by the Central Coast, it was also the first time the Mariners wore their new FFA Cup retro kit, and what a god-awful collection of fabric it is. Brisbane equalised through Brad Inman 20 minutes later, he put that ball in, man. After a long second half full of heart stopping ricochets off the woodwork, each team managed a second goal taking the game to extra time. Alex King continued his streak of FFA Cup games in Brisbane going to extra time and pens, having officiated the Strikers game against the nix in the last round at Perry Park. Honourable mention to Brisbane Strikers, they defeated Manly United 1-0 meaning they will host Queensland’s first FFA Cup Quarter final.
After a scoreless extra time period, the game went to penalties, the crowd quickly shifted to the other end, I watched multiple people narrowly avoid falling over or crushing children in the stampede. From where I sat, we were all hoping for Jamie Young to be the shootout hero once again, unfortunately that seems like an honour reserved only for finals football. After O’Donovan had his penalty saved the Mariners knew they had it won. It was unlucky Brisbane were knocked out, and not just for our fans but for anyone with eyes that will be forced to gaze upon the Mariners awful retro kit for another game.
By Kianna Aquilina