The road to the Cup Final begins tonight as the much-anticipated Australia Cup 2024 kicks off around the nation, marking the 10th Anniversary of the prestigious competition in its modern form.
Each of the Football Australia’s nine state and territory Member Federations will start their Preliminary Round fixtures over the coming weeks, with teams hailing from community grassroots leagues up to the semi-professional tier of Australian football, the National Premier Leagues (NPL).
Since being established by Football Australia in 2014, the country’s largest annual knockout competition has gone from strength to strength each year, delivering exciting ‘Cupsets’ and countless magical moments.
Several memorable highlights have occurred in the Australia Cup, each contributing to the rich tapestry of the competition. Notable instances include Danny Choi's extraordinary 70-yard winning goal for Blacktown City FC against Sydney United 58 FC during extra time in 2016, or Tynan Diaz's long-range free kick for APIA Leichhardt FC against A-League opponents, Western Sydney Wanderers FC, resulting in an exhilarating 'Cupset' during the Round of 16 in 2021.
In 2014, a clash between Adelaide City FC and Western Sydney Wanderers FC became the scene for Australia Cup history, as Adelaide City FC secured a 1-0 victory with a 75th minute goal, marking the birth of the first-ever Australia Cup "Cupset."
The year 2016 witnessed the rise of Victorian side Green Gully FC, announcing themselves as the second-ever NPL team to topple an A-League side in the Australia Cup when they hosted Central Coast Mariners FC in the Round of 32, securing a historic 2-1 triumph. Amazingly, a day after Green Gully's heroics, Football Queensland’s Redlands United FC outshone them, eliminating reigning 2016 A-League Champions Adelaide United FC, underlining the unpredictable and captivating nature of the Australia Cup, where anything can happen.
Australian Football fans aren’t only treated to memorable victories in the Australia Cup. Moments like Devonport Strikers FC creating history as the first Tasmanian side to play an Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s opponent in a competitive fixture during the Australia Cup 2022 Round of 32, or Darwin hosting the Australia Cup 2023 Final Rounds Playoffs, witnessing the first match between two A-League Men’s sides since 2015, emphasising the unique essence of the competition.
The chance to build history like Northern NSW’s Edgeworth Eagles FC, one of the oldest teams to compete in the Australia Cup each year after being founded in 1892, striving to add to its already storied Australia Cup history of five Final Rounds appearances or Capital Football’s Canberra Croatia FC qualifying for their second Australia Cup Round of 32 appearance in 2023 following a five year hiatus.
The Australia Cup also offers a platform for lower tier clubs to reach for glory, like Football West’s Men’s State League Division One side Fremantle City FC eliminating NPL WA Men’s leaders Perth SC 5-4 in a chaotic encounter in the Preliminary Rounds of the Australia Cup 2023.
If not the simple yet heartwarming act of Danny Vukovic – Sydney FC goalkeeper at the time – picking up a confused seagull and returning it to safety during the Australia Cup 2016 Final, all contribute to the exciting and wonderfully entertaining history of the Australia Cup over the past decade.
To commemorate this milestone, a special 10th Anniversary logo has been designed with ‘10-years’ emblazoned across the Australia Cup emblem, symbolising a decade of football excellence and reflecting the unity and passion that define the Australia Cup.
Over 500 teams have registered for the Australia Cup 2024 so far, with that number expected to eclipse last year’s record number of entrants as Football NSW and Football Northern Territory registrations remain open.
Football Victoria's St Albans Gospic Bears FC and Western Eagles SC will share the honours of starting the Australia Cup 2024 Preliminary Rounds on February 9 at Churchill Reserve. Football Victoria will have the highest number of clubs with 219 entrants, marking an increase of two from last year.
Football South Australia will commence their Australia Cup 2024 Preliminary Rounds on February 16, with BOSA FC and Tea Tree Gully SC competing at Adelaide City Park, and Elizabeth Downs SC and Port Adelaide SC clashing at Argana Park simultaneously. Football South Australia will field 52 clubs, which is six more than last year.
Football West will start their Australia Cup 2024 Preliminary Rounds on the weekend of February 24 and 25, featuring numerous matches with regional clubs from across the state, capturing the essence synonymous with the 'Magic of the Cup’. Football West will include 69 clubs, an increase of three from the previous year.
On March 9, Football Tasmania will begin their Preliminary Rounds with two simultaneous matches between Burnie United FC and Olympia Warriors FC at Montello Park and Metro FC and Ulverstone SC at North Chigwell Sports Ground. Football Tasmania will feature 20 clubs, an increase of one club from the previous year.
Northern NSW Football will feature 69 clubs and begin their Preliminary Rounds on February 17-18 with six matches across the weekend. Capital Football will enter 20 clubs including cross-town rivals O’Connor Knights FC and Canberra Olympic FC who will face off in the Preliminary Rounds with the exact date and timings still to be decided.
Football NSW and Footnall Northern Territory nominations will remain open until February 16 and March 6 respectively, with clubs and fixtures to be confirmed afterwards.
Football Australia CEO, James Johnson said: "The Australia Cup has become more than just a tournament, it's a celebration of the unwavering spirit and diversity of football in Australia. Over the past decade, it has evolved into a loved competition across Australia, showcasing the very best of our players and uniting fans across the country,” explained Johnson.
“Over the last few editions, we have introduced initiatives to make the Australia Cup more exciting. Today, the Australia Cup stands as the only national sports competitions which brings together grassroots and professional clubs at the highest levels of competition in a shared pursuit of glory – we are extremely proud of how the Australia Cup unites Australian football. As the largest annual knockout competition in our country, the Australia Cup serves as a platform to exhibit our established and emerging talent to diverse audiences. It plays a pivotal role in supporting the growth of football from the grassroots to the professional level, contributing to the widespread passion for the sport throughout Australia.”
“The Australia Cup also provides a unique pathway from community to international club competition, with the Australia Cup 2024 Winner to represent Australia in the 2025/26 AFC Champions League 2.
“As we embark on the 10th Anniversary edition, we anticipate a tournament that not only promises to showcase the extraordinary skills and enthusiasm of the Australia footballing community, but also marks a decade of excellence, growth, and recognising the profound impact the Australia Cup has had on shaping our football legacy,” concluded Johnson.
Football Australia would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of Australia Cup 2024 partners Mitre, Network 10, Qantas, and Subway.
Australia Cup 2024 Preliminary Rounds – Start Dates:
|9 February 2024
|St Albans Gospic Bears FC v Western Eagles SC
|16 February 2024
|Football South Australia
|BOSA FC v Tea Tree Gully SC and Elizabeth Downs SC v Port Adelaide SC
|17 February 2024
|Northern NSW Football
|Boambee FC v Souths United FC
|24 February 2024
|Football West to release fixtures
|9 March 2024
|Burnie United FC v Olympia Warriors FC and Metro FC v Ulverstone SC
|From 17 March 2024
|O’Connor Knights FC v Canberra Olympic FC
|Football NSW registrations open until February 16
|Football Northern Territory
|Football Northern Territory registrations open until March 6.