Melbourne Knights will be looking to replicate the feats of Sydney United of last season in becoming the second NPL-level side to reach an Australia Cup final, when they host Brisbane Roar in this afternoon’s semi and Somers Street.

The Knights put the pain of their Victorian NPL semi-final loss to Avondale behind them a fortnight ago with a rollicking 3-2 defeat of Heidleberg in the national Cup. The first semi-professional team to win the Cup will earn themselves a cherished place in Australian football history, and the Knights have put themselves right in the mix.

‘The Knights have undergone a complete rejuvenation under Ben Cahn, former Central Coast Mariners youth coach who spent several seasons at Olympic FC in NPL Queensland. Under him they play really good football, they want the ball, and they actually try and do things with it, opposed to kick and rush’, Joey Lynch of ESPN told Box2Box.

‘They were very good value for their comeback, as cruel as it was for Heidelberg. They’re a very proud club, have invested in the squad and invested in bringing Ben Cahn down from Queensland, so I’m intrigued to see how this clash with Brisbane plays out.’

The Roar find themselves in the early stages of Ross Aloisi’s managerial tenure as they prepare for the new A-League season. Despite their relatively modest team sheet, they’ve made light work of Sydney United and Western Sydney to reach the last four.

This season marks a decade since Mike Mulvey’s side lifted the Roar’s most recent silverware. Ange Postecoglou’s Roarcelona teams feel of a bygone era, and the club’s presence in Brisbane has waned considerably in contrast to the AFL’s Lions and NRL’s Broncos.

The Club remains owned by the maligned Bakrie Group, but Aloisi steps in under the new administrative direction of former player Kaz Patafta, Chairman and CEO since July, and fellow former-professional Zac Anderson, newly Chief Operations Officer.

‘They have been the surprise packet of this Australia Cup so far. Alosi has come in, they didn’t recruit a lot of high profile names – Florin Berenguer has come in from Melbourne City, but there were a lot of questions on how this side would go.

‘There have been changes at the executive level as well, and thus far the signs do look promising. Ross has certainly done his apprenticeship, has gone overseas and spent time at Yokohama F. Marinos.

‘I guess it’s a good job for an ambitious coach. Let’s face it, for a long time now Brisbane hasn’t been good, and hasn’t been living up to the famous reputation they developed, so one might make the case that the only way is up. It’s a good opportunity for an ambitious coach to come in and put their stamp on it.’