Matt Paul has already experienced what the FFA Cup round of 32 has to offer.
But after a "roller-coaster year" at Valentine, the midfielder is determined to help Phoenix create their own piece of history against heavyweights Edgeworth on Wednesday night (7.30pm) at Speers Point.
The 28-year-old was part of Broadmeadow's 2014 team, which went down 2-1 to Brisbane Strikers in extra-time at Magic Park in the first televised FFA Cup game.
Five years on, Paul has helped Valentine make the final four in Northern NSW for the first time, scoring twice in a man-of-the-match performance in a 8-1 win over Kahibah on Saturday.
That followed Valentine's epic 4-1 win on penalties over high-flying Weston in which Phoenix were a man down for 70 minutes and equalised in the 120th.
The cup run comes as Valentine, wooden spooners last year, sit ninth in the NPL on just eight points from nine games. Paul said Phoenix were now driven to make the most of their chance in the nationwide knockout.
"We were so focused on the league and we were happy to be mid-table and to build for the next years," Paul said of their pre-season goal.
"We were very concerned about running last, that was the main focus, and we're trying to pull away now from Lakes and Adamstown, but now we've got this opportunity.
"The game against Weston, that was an incredible win, so we thought, let's put our eggs into this basket and try and create some history for the club.
"We've never been this far, and we've got Edgeworth, but you never know what can happen in cup games."
It's a streak Paul is just glad to be a part of after almost taking a break from the sport.
"I do triathlons in off-seasons and I was thinking about a couple of years away from soccer just to do some other stuff," he said. "Last year we didn't go so well so I thought I maybe needed a change, to do something new.
"What got me going this year was the players they brought in. Jacob Bailey, Benny Hay, Brock Oakley, some class players, so I said I'd give the pre-season a run. And it was just a good vibe, so I said I'd stick it out and give it a good crack.
"It's been a bit of a roller-coaster year.
"We signed some very good, technical players but we've had a bad run with injuries and suspensions.
"We had our full team on the weekend, and we seem to do well when we do, so I think that was the key.
"In the league it just hasn't happened yet but we're getting some momentum now. We're four games unbeaten."
Bailey (suspension), Rhyan Smith and Brenton Olzomer (both injury) return to give Valentine a full-strength squad. The Eagles remain without Daniel McBreen.
Valentine co-coach Sam Griffin said his side came through the win over Kahibah "unscathed and very happy". Phoenix scored six goals in the final 20 minutes to overcome the second-tier club.
"They gave us a good run for 60 minutes and the score probably doesn't reflect how close it was," Griffin said.
"It was a result we needed to get and it looked quite emphatic towards the end but I'm very happy with the form we're in."
Griffin said Valentine were confident of challenging cup specialists Edgeworth.
"If we'd drawn out any of the other teams, it wouldn't have bothered us," he said.
"We're going really well and we've still got to play against 11 on the pitch.
"Edgeworth are obviously favourites for everything, every game we play, but we've got a massive chance."
The Eagles are aiming for a fourth appearance in the round of 32 and are just two points off top spot in the NPL in their hunt for a fifth consecutive premiership.