A deep run in the FFA cup could be the motivation the Monaro Panthers needed as they look to rebuild the club under new coach Frank Cachia.
“There’s no denying there’s a bit of excitement around the camp and we are looking forward to playing a team who has been the benchmark for the last 12 months in Canberra Croatia,” Cachia said.
Cachia joined the club in the summer after a year away from NPL and was aware it was going to be a big task turning around the team that came bottom of the league last season.
He immediately got to work, bringing in 10 players to replace the nine that left the club and starting to rebuild a new Panthers side.
Many of these new additions had previously played with Cachia at former clubs.
“One of the things we have always taken pride in ourselves is the culture that we build,” Cachia said.
“The fact that we can attract players that are coming from clubs that were predominately near the top of the table, winning championships and making grand finals to a team that has struggled for the last sort of couple of decades, says a lot.”
“It was pretty satisfying to attract the players we did to the club.”
The start of the NPL season did not go to plan for Cachia’s Panthers as he saw his team lose the first four games in a row.
“Every game is a bit of a cup final for us at the moment and we are sort of approaching every game with a must win attitude,” Cachia said.
The spirit over at Riverside has been boosted in the last few weeks due to the side securing their first points for the season with a win over Gungahlin but also a strong push in the FFA Cup.
A 12-0 victory against Wagga City Wanderers last month has propelled them into the final four and will see them face formidable opponents Canberra Croatia FC.
Croatia beat Monaro 1-0 when they played earlier in the year in a back-and-forth game and star man Josh Calabria is ready to help lead his team deeper into the cup.
“Everyone is pretty excited, they’re a lot of boys who have played but also a lot who haven’t, they are getting excited about it, but we are trying to keep everyone in check and focused,” Calabria said.
“A cup game is a chance to get an outcome that you might not normally get, and we are looking forward to the challenge,” Cachia said.
Watch Monaro Panthers take on Canberra Croatia at 7pm on Wednesday the 26 May at Riverside Stadium.