Australia Cup quarter-finals Ultimate Guide: Everything you need to know

The quarter-finals of the 2023 Australia Cup get underway this week. Here’s everything you need to know.

The Australia Cup returns this week as the tournament enters its business stage.

There are only eight teams remaining in the race to lift the trophy and secure an AFC Cup berth.

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Of the clubs still standing in the quarter-finals, three are from the National Premier Leagues – NPLM VIC duo Melbourne Knights and Heidelberg United as well as MetroStars from NPLM SA.

Three-time reigning Isuzu UTE A-League premiers Melbourne City are joined by Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney Wanderers, Sydney FC and Western United as the A-Leagues clubs vying for a semi-final berth, with the 2023-24 A-League Men season approaching next month.

Ahead of the Australia Cup quarter-final matchups, here’s everything you need to know.



How to watch?

All Australia Cup matches will be streamed live and free on 10Play.

Quarter-finals fixtures
Thursday September 14

MetroStars v Melbourne City
 T.K. Shutter Reserve
Kick-off: 7:30pm (AEST)

Melbourne Knights v Heidelberg United
 Knights Stadium
Kick-off: 7:30pm (AEST)

Saturday September 16

Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers
 Perry Park
Kick-off: 5:30pm (AEST)

Sunday September 17

Sydney FC v Western United
Leichhardt Oval
Kick-off: 3.00pm (AEST)

When is the draw for the semi-finals?

The draw for the semi-finals will take place at the conclusion of the Sydney FC v Western United fixture on Sunday September 17. It will be streamed live on 10 Play.

Australia Cup national stages dates

Quarter-finals: Thursday September 14, Saturday September 16, Sunday September 17.

Semi-finals: Saturday September 23, Sunday September 24, Wednesday September 27. (Exact semi-final matchdays to be confirmed by Football Australia)

Final: Saturday October 7

Key storylines

Can Metrostars become the latest NPL giant-killers?

This is the first time MetroStars will face A-Leagues competition in this season’s Australia Cup as Melbourne City await.

The NPLM SA premiers edged Inter Lions in the Round of 16, having made light work of Inglewood United in the last 32.

MetroStars, whose NPL finals campaign didn’t go accordingly to plan, will be buoyed by the fact 2022 NPLM VIC champions Oakleigh Cannons pushed City all the way in the Round of 32.

Oakleigh twice led the A-Leagues juggernaut, who needed a 94th-minute goal to see off the 2022-23 semi-finalists.

City – the 2016 victors – are starting to find their groove, however, and Thursday night’s trip to South Australia will serve as preparation for next week’s AFC Champions League opener against Ventforet Kofu.

Former Udinese star Tolgay Arslan has made an instant impact with three goals in two Australia Cup games, while new captain Jamie Maclaren bagged a brace in the 3-0 win over Wellington Phoenix en route to the quarters.

An all-NPL VIC showdown as Cahn’s stocks rise

Knights Stadium has played host to some memorable matches over the years. It has also been home to some Australian and international greats.

On Thursday night, the iconic stadium will be the venue for Melbourne Knights’ first ever Australia Cup quarter-final – against rivals Heidelberg United on Thursday.

Widely regarded as one of Australian football’s brightest young coaches, Knights boss Ben Cahn has worked wonders in his maiden season with the club, who were winners over Lions FC and Campbelltown FC in the prior rounds.

He ended their NPL finals drought, dating back to 2015 as they reached the semi-finals. He also guided the team – boasting former A-Leagues champion and Socceroo Ivan Franjic as well as ex-Western United defender Ben Collins – to the Dockerty Cup semis.

His work this season also earned him Coach of the Year honours alongside Avondale FC coach Zoran Markovski.

Cahn is no stranger to the latter stages of the Australia Cup, having led Olympic FC to the Round of 16 in 2019 before they were knocked out by eventual champions Adelaide United.

Standing in the way of Cahn’s Knights are Heidelberg, who are four-time Australia Cup quarter-finalists (2015, 2017, 2018 and 2023) but missed out on the NPLM VIC finals this season.

Goals galore in Brisbane?

Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers have been lethal in front of goal heading into Saturday’s showdown.

Under new boss Ross Aloisi, Roar overcame Newcastle Jets 3-2 following a 5-0 demolition of 2022 finalists Sydney United.

Teenage sensation Quinn Macnicol, 15, also became the youngest scorer in the history of the Australia Cup after scoring against the Jets.

As for the Wanderers, they have barely put a foot wrong with a semi-final berth at stake.

Western Sydney blitzed Floreat Athena and Adelaide United 6-1 and 5-1 respectively – Olyroo Lachlan Brook scored five goals in the rout of Floreat, while Swedish import Marcus Antonsson and Socceroos forward Brandon Borrello scored two goals apiece in the win over Adelaide.

Western Sydney have the chance to reach the semi-finals for just the third time and first since 2018, while Brisbane are eyeing consecutive final-four appearances.

History on the line for Western

Already, Western United have gone where they have never gone before in reaching the Australia Cup quarter-finals.

And, if they beat Sydney FC on Sunday afternoon, it will mean a first ever semi-final.

There have been huge changes at Western after they missed the Isuzu UTE A-League finals last season – Leo Lacroix, Jamie Young (Melbourne City), Neil Kilkenny, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Alessandro Diamanti (retired), Tongo Doumbia, James Troisi, Ryan Scott, Dylan Pierias and Connor Pain have all departed.

Angus Thurgate, Tom Heward-Belle, Matt Sutton, James Donachie, Kane Vidmar and Daniel Penha have come in and John Aloisi’s Western have impressed on their journey to the Australia Cup quarter-finals, proving too strong for Edgeworth and Gold Coast Knights.

Star-studded Sydney fell at this stage last season in what remains as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Australia Cup. The Sky Blues lost to Oakleigh in the quarter-finals.

After prevailing against Central Coast Mariners on penalties before conquering APIA Leichhardt, Sydney have the chance to qualify for just their second semi-final.