For Sydney United 58’s Thomas Manos and Manly United’s Adam Parkhouse the message ahead of Sunday’s Waratah cup final is loud and clear. Nothing is assured in a cup final.
It will be high stakes for both as the first major piece of silverware for the season goes on the line at Lambert Park on Sunday.
It has been a charmed season in the league for Manos and United 58 who lead the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s competition after 17 rounds and are the reigning Waratah Cup champions
Mark Rudan’s side has been the gold standard since round two with shot stopper Manos playing better than ever.
However, Manly United isn’t too far behind in third position.
Paul Dee’s talented unit has hit their straps over the past six weeks with winger Parkhouse, alongside Manly’s supercharged attack, playing some of the league’s most exciting football.
Manos said high standards set by the coaching staff in preseason have driven United 58 to strive for greatness in 2016.
“We couldn’t have asked for much more from this season and a win on Sunday would be just reward for the hard work we have been doing on the training paddock,” he said
“Everyone in the team is pushing their teammates to play at an incredibly high level and the results have shown on the pitch.
“Individually this has been my best season and my teammates and the coaching staff has been the ones who have helped me achieve this.”
While Manos admitted the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW Men’s Premiership was the primary goal this season, the 20-year-old said his United 58 teammates were driven to take home Sunday’s prize.
“As a playing group we challenged ourselves to win every competition we could this season.
“Manly are a tough side and we won’t be taking them lightly.
“However, our main focus is on us and not our opposition.”
Manly and United 58 played out a 1-1 draw in their only other meeting this season and Parkhouse is adamant Manly has what it takes to win its first trophy since 2011.
“It was a topsy-turvy start to the season for us but about six weeks ago we came together and looked at how we can turn our season around,” Parkhouse said.
“We have made a big step as a team this year and I know we have the talent to take it to United 58.
“The addition of Richie Cardozo mid-season has added a new dimension to our game and has created more opportunities for our other talented players to excel.
“We were able to really take it to United 58 when we played them earlier in the season so if we can stay confident and play to our strengths we will very much be in with a shot.”
Road to the Final
Knockout football is a ruthless endeavour.
Mark Rudan’s side have put away 23 goals in five matches en route to the 2016 Football New South Wales Waratah Cup final, beating fellow PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues New South Wales Men’s 1 sides Sutherland Sharks (4-0) and Sydney Olympic (2-1) along the way.
A 5-1 semi-final thrashing of Marconi Stallions, only relegated to the second tier last season, booked their spot in the final.
United have travelled for every game with the exception of their semi-final win.
Manly, on the other hand, have had a slightly easier draw, but they have looked convincing throughout.
An 8-1 win away to the Gladesville Ravens got the cup campaign off to the best possible start, before they knocked off the Glebe Gorillas 3-1 and Killarney Districts 4-1.
They could only manage a narrow 1-0 win over the Mounties Wanderers in the quarter-finals, but if that result was somewhat underwhelming, they showed their true colours in the semi-final against reigning NPL NSW Men’s 1 champions Blacktown City FC.
Manly knocked off last year’s finalists – and the team that beat them in the 2014 final with a 6-2 thrashing – to extract some long awaited cup revenge and book their spot in the final and they will need to repeat that performance again if they are to get their hands on their first piece of silverware since 2011.
2016 Waratah Cup Final
Sunday 10th July
Manly United v Sydney United 58 FC
Live Streaming Details
Kickoff at 3:00pm. You can also watch the live stream directly on your Facebook feed on the Football NSW page.