Australia Cup Final Ultimate Guide – everything you need to know

Take a look at the round one fixtures for the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League season which begins on Friday 20th October.

Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar will fight it out in the 2023 Australia Cup Final. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s decider.

It started with 775 clubs but now only two remain, as Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar do battle in the 2023 Australia Cup final on Saturday night,

The Sky Blues have reached the final for the fourth time in the club’s history, and the first since their 2018 defeat to Adelaide United, with Steve Corica’s side chasing their first piece of silverware in over three years.


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Meanwhile, Brisbane will feature in their first ever Australia Cup final after an incredible start to life under new coach Ross Aloisi. It’s the first time Brisbane have had a chance to compete for silverware in a final of any sort since their 2014 Isuzu UTE A-League Grand Final victory.

The winner will not only be crowned Australia Cup champions, but will also be granted a spot in Asia next season – emphasising the stakes at play.

Ahead of this Saturday’s contest, here’s everything you need to know.


Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Date: Saturday, October 7 2023
Venue: Allianz Stadium
Kick-off: 7:45 PM (AEDT)

How to watch?

The 2023 Australia Cup Final will be broadcast live and free on 10, 10 Bold in Perth, and 10 Play.


Tickets for the match start at $12 for a junior ticket, $15 for a concession ticket, $25 for adults, and $65 for a family pass.


Venue decision

Allianz Stadium will host the 2023 Australia Cup final, after Football Australia took into consideration venue suitability and availability as to where the match would take place.

Normally, a draw would be held to determine who would be the home team and where the final would be played – but venue availability means Sydney will host the match.

Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium is unavailable on the weekend of October 7-8, while Ballymore Stadium is under renovation and Kayo Stadium in Redcliffe’s capacity of 10,000 ensured Allianz Stadium would be the most suitable venue for the decider.

ALLIANZ: Venue locked in for 2023 Australia Cup Final – Why there was only one option

The lack of a viable option in Brisbane along with the need to play the final by the weekend of October 7-8, as a result of the FIFA Men’s international window starting on the 9th, saw FA make the decision to take the final to Moore Park.

FA are hoping to break the attendance record for a Cup final, which currently stands at 18,751 in the 2016 final between Melbourne City and Sydney FC.

Road to the final

Sydney FC

Sydney’s Australia Cup campaign was almost over before it really got started.

The Sky Blues took on reigning Isuzu UTE A-League champions Central Coast Mariners in Wollongong in the Round of 32 and had to go the distance in order to see off their state rivals.

Sydney led by two goals through Robert Mak and Patrick Wood, before an Alou Kuol header and Marco Tulio penalty sent the game to extra time.

Harrison Steele thought he had won the game for the Mariners when he gave Nick Montgomery’s side the lead in the 100th minute, before an incredible Jaiden Kucharski strike with essentially the last kick of the game ensured the contest would go to penalties.

A marathon penalty shootout ensued and came down to the goalkeepers, with Sydney’s Andrew Redmayne saving Jack Warshawsky’s penalty before dispatching his own to win the shootout 10-9.

Sydney went on to book their place in the quarters after seeing off NPL New South Wales champions APIA Leichhardt 2-0 thanks to goals from Wood and Anthony Caceres, before thumping Western United 3-0 – with the aforementioned duo and Jack Rodwell finding the net as they secured a place in the semis against Melbourne City.

Steve Corica’s side would go on to beat the reigning A-League Men Premiers 2-1 at AAMI Park, with Wood taking his tally to four goals in four games and Joe Lolley finding the net.

Brisbane Roar

Similarly to Sydney, Brisbane Roar’s run to the final started with a stern Round of 32 test.

In Ross Aloisi’s first official game in charge, Brisbane took on Newcastle Jets, who are embarking on a new era of their own under new coach Rob Stanton.

Aloisi’s charges twice went behind but battled back to send the game to extra time thanks to a Ryan Scott own-goal and Louis Zabala strike. Alex Parsons was the hero for Brisbane, firing home the winner in the 118th minute to wrap up the dramatic win on the road.

Up next was last year’s runners-up Sydney United 58 – who got the better of Brisbane in last year’s semi-final – but lightning wouldn’t strike twice at Edensor Park.

Roar demolished their NPL NSW opponents 5-0, with Henry Hore, Nikola Mileusnic, Jay O’Shea all hitting the scoreboard alongside youngsters Thomas Waddingham and Quinn MacNicol (who became the youngest goalscorer in Roar history at 15 years old).

Brisbane returned home to face fellow in-form side Western Sydney Wanderers, and once again Aloisi’s side showed tremendous grit to battle back from an early deficit – winning 4-2 at Perry Park.

Carlo Armiento and Waddingham found the net before half-time to overturn Marcus Antonsson’s early goal for the visitors.

Jack Clisby equalised in the 57th minute with a stunning long-range effort, but Joe Caletti would restore Brisbane’s lead shortly after, before Hore would wrap up the victory and their place in the final four against NPL Victoria side Melbourne Knights.

Brisbane came away victors in the semifinal in front of a bumper crowd at Knights Stadium, with Waddingham’s solitary goal enough to secure the win and their first trip to the Cup final.

Key storylines

Battle of the young strikers

Patrick Wood and Thomas Waddingham have been the two breakout stars of the 2023 Australia Cup campaign so far and look set to have a major say in how this weekend’s final pans out.

Between them the duo have scored seven goals in eight games and thus stamped their claim to be the main option up front heading into this A-Leagues season for their respective sides.

Wood has surged to the top of the pecking order in the wake of Adam Le Fondre’s departure, scoring a goal in each of his four games throughout their Cup campaign. The 21-year-old had previously shown glimpses of his potential in seasons gone by, but had never truly put together a sustained run of form until now.

Even with the arrival of Brazilian striker Fabio Gomes in the last few weeks, it seems as if Wood will be the first option going into round one, should Steve Corica stick with a 4-3-3.

However, as floated by former Central Coast Mariners striker Daniel McBreen on the broadcast following their semi-final victory, the option to go two-up-top with both Wood and Gomes could be “lethal” should Corica opt to throw the magnets around and return to his patented 4-2-2-2 formation.

Meanwhile, Waddingham has had an incredible rise into the senior team this season. The 18-year-old signed a scholarship deal in August and was thrust into the starting XI for their Round of 32 clash against Newcastle.

After going scoreless on debut, Waddingham has been on a tear, scoring in each of the next three games, vindicating Aloisi’s faith in the youngster as their main option up top.

The young number nine looks set to lead the line in round one, but now has some competition in the form of Jonas Markovski – who signed for the club after winning the NPL Victoria Golden Boot last season.

Corica’s selection dilemma, Brisbane boost

Once again, Steve Corica is faced with the same selection dilemma as the semi-final.

Stick with the kids or return to the trusty veterans?

Corica opted to go with the former against Melbourne City, backing in the likes of Kealey Adamson, Jake Girdwood-Reich and Corey Hollman and Patrick Wood after impressive Cup campaigns, over returning veterans Rhyan Grant, Max Burgess and new signings Gabriel Lacerda and Fabio Gomes.

With a final on the horizon, it remains to be seen whether the performances of Adamson and Hollman in particular have been enough to keep Grant and Burgess out of the starting XI.

Rhyan Grant

Grant and Burgess replaced Adamson and Hollman at half-time of the win over City, playing their most minutes of Sydney’s Cup campaign so far, after only returning from injury and suspension in the quarter-final win over Western United as substitutes.

Meanwhile, Girdwood-Reich and Wood should hold their places – especially the latter – as Lacerda and Gomes continue to get up to speed having only just joined the club in the last month.

Brisbane, on the other hand, will welcome Henry Hore back from suspension.

Hore was on a tear leading into the semi-final, scoring two goals and tallying an assist in their first three games of the Cup campaign.

Veteran midfielder Florin Berenguer started his first game for the club in his place against Melbourne Knights, which leaves Ross Aloisi with a dilemma of his own, given Hore’s solid form prior to the semi-final.

Hore can also play out wide, meaning there is also the option for Aloisi to bring him in for one of Nikola Mileusnic or Carlo Armiento should he want to start both the former and the Frenchman from the onset.

Can Brisbane buck the Queensland trend?

Grand Finals and Queensland sides haven’t gone hand-in-hand over the last 12 months, but Brisbane Roar will be hoping to end the hoodoo this weekend.

Six professional sporting teams from the Sunshine State have lost in Grand Finals throughout the last year, including four teams on last weekend alone.

Big Bash League side Brisbane Heat and Brisbane Lions’ AFLW team were the first Queensland sides in the last 12 months to lose in a decider, falling to Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Demons respectively.

It would only get worse as the Lions’ men’s side fell to an agonising four point defeat to Collingwood Magpies in the AFL Grand Final last Saturday.

The following day would see a trifecta of losses, including the Brisbane Tigers in the NRL State Championship, Gold Coast Titans in the NRLW Grand Final and then, Brisbane Broncos – who gave up a 16-point lead with 24 minutes remaining, to lose against the Penrith Panthers.

Now, it all hinges on the Roar to buck the trend this weekend at Allianz Stadium.


Sydney FC (4-3-3): Redmayne, Adamson, Rodwell, Girdwood-Reich, King, Brattan, Burgess, Caceres, Mak, Wood, Lolley

Brisbane Roar (4-2-3-1): Freke, Hingert, Neville, Aldred, Zabala, Caletti, O’Shea, Mileusnic, Hore, Armiento, Waddingham

Mike Cockerill Medal

The 2023 Mike Cockerill medallist will also be crowned on Saturday night.

The medal commemorates the late, great journalist and television broadcaster who passed away in 2017. His Fox Sports colleagues inaugurated the medal following his passing, which recognises the standout National Premier League’s player in each year of the Australia Cup.

“Given Michael’s enduring passion for the “underdog” and the “uncovered diamond”, along with his lifelong commitment to football’s supporting structures, community football and semi-professional football and footballers, the most obvious place for the “Michael Cockerill Medal” lay in recognising worthy individuals from that cohort,” Andy Harper wrote on the Australia Cup website.

“Feeling that the professional apex of the game was becoming increasingly better served, and indulged, his sensitivities increasingly focused on the game’s “lower tiers”. The National Premier Leagues (NPL), became a space where Michael’s legacy might shine.”

Criteria for the Mike Cockerill Medal

  • Player has had no previous A-Leagues or other professional experience
  • Playing quality, personality and character
  • Influence on the team and its Cup progress
  • Playing type – an out-of-the-box player, an “X” factor player
  • Should/could be playing at professional level
  • Players emerging from special cohorts; Oceania/Pasifika, refugee, indigenous, recent migrant communities.
  • Recipient may be from the career spectrum; ie a rookie to an experienced, career long NPL player who has played, and served, at NPL for their entire career, and anything in between.
  • Theoretically, a player can win the award playing only one game from the Round of 32 on.
  • The Medallist need not necessarily embody all the above considerations and no singular consideration is more worthy than another (apart from the amateur/professional dichotomy).
  • A player is only eligible to be awarded the Medal once.
List of Mike Cockerill Medallists 

2018: Elvis Kamsoba – Avondale FC
2019: Fraser Hills – Brisbane Strikers
2021: Finn Beakhurst – Lions FC
2022: Joe Guest – Oakleigh Cannons