ARMADALE and Gwelup Croatia will fight it out for Football West’s Belt Up Cup final this weekend at Dorrien Gardens in West Perth.
The two sides, along with Perth Glory, are also WA’s representatives in the nationwide FFA Cup but will have to put aside the national spotlight this week if they are to lift the silverware on Saturday.
For Armadale, it’s a chance to claim their first major Football West trophy.
Head coach John O’Reilly said he had been using recent home and away games as preparation for the cup final.
“The last few weeks, all our league games we’ve been using them as dress rehearsals,” he said.
“The cup final and FFA Cup round of 32 are our priority.”
They will enter the match in good form, having beaten reigning league champions Bayswater 4-1 earlier this month.
O’Reilly said the motivation of playing in the Cup final combined with anticipation of the side’s looming FFA Cup round of 32 fixture in Cairns was driving the team.
“That motivation has driven the standards at training and on the weekend,” O’Reilly said.
“We’re embracing these two events and enjoying every minute of it.”
Gwelup plays in the division below Armadale, but after the club’s recent rise through the leagues, they boast great self-belief combined along with a tireless work ethic.
Having won the Amateur Premier League in 2015 and 2016, the club moved into the higher State League and won the division two title in 2017.
This year they are top of division one State League, which is one tier below their National Premier League opponents Armadale.
For all their past success head coach Taki Nicolaidis declared his side was definitely the underdogs against Armadale and would not look ahead when asked how the team might celebrate should they win the cup on Saturday.
“We’ve been underdogs before and come up trumps,” Nicolaidis said.
“But we have won nothing yet. The job’s not done yet.”
Both teams have drawn non A-League opponents for the round of 32 in the FFA Cup.
Gwelup will face Adelaide Comets at Dorrien Gardens on Wednesday, July 25.
Armadale will travel to the other corner of the country to Cairns to play Cairns FC on August 1 and O’Reilly said his squad was over the moon to be playing interstate.
“They had there fingers and toes crossed on that one,” he said.
“To go to Cairns and lose would hurt. “They’re very focused on being professional.”
Perth Glory will host Melbourne Victory on August 7.