By Liam Emerton
The Clinton FC ladies squad will face their biggest challenge of their careers in hopes of making history.
The Grubs will welcome Football Queensland Premier League Far North side Edge Hill United for the quarter finals of the Kappa Cup.
The quarter finals is where fellow Gladstone soccer club Central FC progressed through to last season with Clinton holding out plenty of hope of making it even one step further.
But it certainly will be no easy task for our region’s premier ladies team who will come up against some of the best women’s players in Queensland.
The two sisters of Australia Matildas National team player Mary Fowler – Louise Fowler and Ciara Fowler will line up for the Edge Hill squad.
What could be concerning for our team is the Far North’s team ability to score from all across the park, meaning every one of the Clinton players will need to play solid defence.
However nothing should be taken away from how good the Grubs are, which has been displayed in their domination of the local competition and even their most recent Kappa Cup victories.
Skye Noonan is the top scorer in both of those competitions with the attacker notching up her 48th, 49th and 50th goals for the season in a 4-3 win over the Capricorn Coast Eagles on Saturday.
Noonan’s hattrick is made even more impressive considering that the side could only field nine players away from home.
But Noonan’s attacking prowess won’t be the only key to Clinton’s success this weekend with coach Dave Lederhose believing the similar styles will lead to a crucial battle in midfield.
“Obviously our front three Skye, Billie [Orth] and Georgia [Muir] will be key to scoring our goals,” he said.
“I think our defensive midfielder Ainsley Downie will be key in closing down the middle part of the ground.
“That’s where the battle will be won around that number six position, that defensive midfield role.
“The game will be won depending on how well we control the middle of the park and Ainsley is usually very good in that role and she’ll have her hands filled this weekend.”
The biggest advantage that the Grubs will have is that they will be playing in front of a home crowd with the match being hosted at Boyne Island Tannum Sands field.
“That will play a huge part, everyone loves to play in front of their home crowd,” said coach Lederhose.
“When the crowd gets behind you it gives you that extra bit of a push.
“For me it’s about showcasing the talent that we have in ladies’ football in Gladstone and the CQ region.
“I hope everyone is just entertained whether that’s a win or a loss and I hope it helps a five or six-year-old girl lace up the boots because that’s what it is all about.”
The match will be played at BITS Field, just outside of BITS Oval, at 6pm with a massive crowd expected to turn up for the Grubs.
At 4pm at the same ground, Clinton’s men’s squad will play the Frenchville Roos in a top-of-the-table clash in the prelude to the Kappa Cup.