Adelaide City’s Joel Allwright was the hero of last month’s Federation Cup final victory, as his brace ensured the black & white stripes of City returned to the national stage by qualifying for the inaugural FFA Cup.
Allwright has had a more travelled career than many might imagine, having spent time at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and representing Australia at the 2005 under-17 World Cup in Peru.
“That was an amazing opportunity…unfortunately for us we didn’t do all that well, but we won one game so it was great to get the win and sing the winning song,” Allwright said when asked about the tournament.
Allwright enjoyed his time at the AIS, and said that the level of coaching offered was second to none.
“Training every single day, you just live and breathe football. You were always learning and we had world class coaches…I learnt a lot from that.”
From the AIS, Allwright returned home to South Australia and joined Adelaide United’s National Youth League (NYL) set-up.
“That was very good. Again we had great coaches in Joe Mullen and Michael Valkanis so I really enjoyed that. We almost won it (the NYL grand final) the first year, which would have been great.”
Allwright never broke into United’s senior side but he has no regrets about the path his career took.
“I didn’t get a chance to go into the first team which I would’ve loved, but things happen in football. I’m very happy with the way it turned out.”
In 2012 Allwright joined former National Soccer League (NSL) powerhouse Adelaide City, with Australian legend Damian Mori at the helm.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. Working with Damian Mori, he has taught me quite a lot over the last few years. He’s got a huge amount of experience and always wants to share it with me.”
Prior to joining City, the closest Allwright had come to claiming silverware was that NYL grand final defeat, but that has all changed.
“I hadn’t won anything for my whole career and then I’ve come here and won two cups, so I couldn’t ask for much more.”
That second Cup Allwright refers to was last month’s 4-1 victory over West Adelaide at Coopers Stadium, where he got City off to a flyer by scoring twice inside the opening quarter of an hour.
“It was quite amazing really, I’ve saved all my goals for the cup…So to get those two goals at the start was the best start we could have gotten.”
The win meant City were through to the first ever instalment of the FFA Cup, a knockout competition which will pit them against the best sides from around the country.
“It’s going to be really exciting to see who we match up against in the first round and hopefully go from there.”
The draw for the Round of 32 takes place on Friday June 27th and it’s clearly going to be an exciting time for everyone involved with City, but Allwright revealed that there was no preferred opponent.
“I think everyone would like to travel and get a trip away, but we haven’t really thought about who we would like. We’re going to organise to watch it all together as a team so we’re really looking forward to that.”
Helping to get City back into the minds of the public around the country is something that has inspired Allwright and his teammates this season. After all, Adelaide City are an integral part of the patchwork of Australian football, having enjoyed great success during the NSL era.
“Yeah definitely, we are a big club along with West Adelaide,” the former Australian u-17 international said.
“A lot of the old NSL teams want to be at the top again, they want the chance to show what sort of club they were. And doing it for Adelaide City is a great honour and we’re all looking forward to it.”