AS an A-League player and more recently football manager, Joel Griffiths found the prospect of taking on an NPL club in the FFA Cup as hard.
Now as a coach of Newcastle Olympic, he is determined to ensure that theory rings true.
Olympic sealed a place in the FFA Cup round of 32 - and a potential date with the Jets - after a hard-fought 1-0 triumph over a plucky Coffs Harbour City at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on Sunday.
"Hard," Griffiths said when asked to recall his thoughts about facing an NPL club during his previous roles. "We have a lot of work to do but we are in the round of 32. Anything can happen."
It is the first time Olympic have progressed to the national stage since the inception of the FFA Cup in 2014.
"It is so good for the boys because they work so hard," said Griffiths who played for the Jets, Sydney and Wellington in a 96-game A-League career. "The football club has not been in this position. It is a proud club with a strong history and a lot of good people. We have a lot of volunteers for whom a result like this goes a long way for their lives. I'm really happy for them."
Substitute Jed Hornery poked home the winner in the 65th minute after Coffs had failed to deal with a cross from Brian Sutomo - bringing an end to what had been shaping as a frustrating afternoon.
Coffs sat deep and defended resolutely, content to try and hurt Olympic on the break.
The home side dominated possession and field position, but were let down by poor crossing and a lack of silk in the penalty box.
"I knew if we scored one, it would be enough," Griffiths said. "The message at half time was be patient. Jed is a goal-scorer. He wasn't happy when I left him on the bench. It was a scrappy goal but people won't be talking about how we played, only that we have advanced to the round of 32."
Hornery also scored the decisive goal, with a header, in the 1-0 win over NPL leaders Lambton Jaffas on Saturday.
"It seems that we play really well against the teams we are supposed to lose against and we struggle against the teams we are expected to beat," Griffiths said. "We didn't play bad against Coffs. The energy was good but maybe we were a bit complacent."
Broadmeadow host Weston, at a date to be set, to determine the other representative from NNSW in the final 32 of the knockout.
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