They’re huge underdogs but Queenstown Rovers football team is hoping for a knockout surprise.
This Saturday’s home Chatham Cup game against Dunedin side Caversham is the biggest of the club’s history.
It’s the furthest the men’s team have gone in the nationwide knockout comp, something coach Jamie Whitmarsh thinks is unprecedented for a team of their size.
A win will see them make the final eight.
Whitmarsh: “Never at the beginning of the season would we have said as a club that this was our expectation.
“This is the icing on the cake. It’s about 90 minutes and our boys trying to live the dream.”
The team are playing well but Whitmarsh says they’re aware of the size of the task.
“We know it is going to be very difficult, they are a very good team. But if we play to our maximum we may surprise people.
“We are going to go into it full of heart but also need to be realistic as well.”
The squad has shown a huge amount of guts and determination.
While they never set out to get this far their coach reckons they’re starting to believe they can progress.
Whitmarsh was impressed when he watched their opponents, Caversham, play in Dunedin last weekend.
Whitmarsh (left) will use that knowledge to consider tactics for the match this Saturday against the runaway leaders of Dunedin’s ODT premier league.
The Rovers’ run-on team will depend on who is available - a constant challenge in the resort.
Queenstown’s transience means some of those who played earlier in the season have left. Others might not be able to play because of work.
Whitmarsh: “It does make it harder, absolutely. But what it does do is make us foster a strong culture and team spirit.”
Every player knows what’s required of them, he says.
Whitmarsh says the team aren’t nervous - simply excited.
He didn’t want to be drawn on whether he thought they’d win. But progressing to the next round would be surreal, he says.
“If we got through - and that is a big ask - then we won’t be beating our drum. We will just crack on and see where it leads us and try to progress again.
“Then all of a sudden, when you get to the last minute, anything is possible.”
Queenstown Rovers take on Caversham, Queenstown Events Centre, 2pm, Saturday.