Such is the dearth of silverware in the Manly Allambie United trophy cabinet they’ve been described as “the Birmingham City of northern beaches football”. It’s further said that the biggest thing they’ve ever won was when Russell Rodgers jagged the Keno at Harbord Diggers.
All of which, jokes aside, makes Wednesday night’s Challenge Cup final against BTH Raiders at Cromer Park “the biggest game in club history”, according to Manly Allambie President Alex Green.
“Our women’s team is the pride of the club. The team’s become stronger and stronger the last few years; and is now at the point where they’re the flagship of Manly Allambie.
“Safe to say we’re extremely proud of them and they’ll have huge support on Wednesday night,” Green said.
United women’s Premier League coach Kyle Cannon is aware of the context. “Our women’s Premier League team has only been in the competition a short time and a win on Wednesday night will mean a great deal to a lot of people. It’s a very big deal for our club,” Cannon said.
Yet ask Cannon about his team’s form leading into the final against BTH Raiders and he may laugh. Because in terms of form, there isn’t much.
“We’ve played once in four weeks,” Cannon told MWFA Media. “We had Anzac Day, played Brookvale, had a bye. On Sunday Seaforth had a State Cup game. It’s been tough. But in that Brookie game we found a way to win, which is encouraging.”
Cannon said his team’s defence at the back and strike power up front are two weapons the team will look to exploit on Wednesday. United’s back four – Kiah Kennedy, Tess Olsen, Sophia Cleary, Liz Thill – along with goalkeeper Jessie Sullivan have conceded two goals in three games. While up front Cassie Rodgers, Sammy Grant and Tiffany Paterson will ultimately vie for the Golden Boot.
And even without playing games, spirits remain high at Millers Reserve, according to Cannon. “We’ve played a bit of futsal. We had a social thing on the bye weekend. Once in a while they can be as good as a training session. We’ve done our best in trying circumstances,” Cannon said.
Asked what intel he’d collated on BTH Raiders Cannon replied: “None. I know nothing about them. And that can be a good thing. You’re not going into a game worrying about a good player, or aiming to take someone out of the game. You focus on yourselves.
“We’ve got the ability to keep the ball, to control the game. The less time they have with the ball means the less chance they have to score. We play a possession-based game which builds from the back.”
Kick-off is Wednesday night at [7pm] at Cromer Park.