Brattan’s big chancePosted: January 24, 2013
The biggest offshoot from Erik Paartalu’s departure is the opportunity it now gives one of Brisbane’s younger brigade his chance to stake his claim for a permanent 1st team, and that is Luke Brattan. Having been in and around the squad for so long, it’s his time to step up and become a regular member of the starting side.
A Rochedale Rovers junior, Luke came into the squad as a foundation member of the National Youth League squad where after two solid seasons he was given a 1st team deal by Postecoglou, and was also afforded a debut in the latter weeks of the ill fated 2009/10 season. That off-season obviously saw Ange bring in his signings, one of which was Paartalu as direct competition for Brattan. Erik ofcourse went on to play 85 consecutive games before his departure which obviously made it difficult for Brattan to get his chance.
Brattan, now 22, has made 27 appearances in his 3 seasons as a member of the 1st team squad, however as mentioned above the consistency of both Paartalu and the team made it tough for him. That meant he was largely limited to cameo’s off the substitute’s bench. He also spent an unnecessary amount of time in the youth league where he was a clear standout for much of the past 12 months when he played at that level.
Ofcourse, this now is his big opportunity in the A-League, while he’s still young, he’s no longer getting by on reputation as ‘one for the future’. For Luke, the future is now. It has to be. His 3 year contract is up at the conclusion of this season and with so many players given long term commitments he really needs to cement himself in the 1st team.
There is obviously a hole there to be filled and he has the game to step into it, and not just replace Erik but also flourish and make it his own. He’s got a fantastic short and long passing game which we’ve seen in his appearances so far, and it should be pointed out that it was he who instigated that last minute move which lead to the Berisha penalty in the Grand Final. He’s also got a reputation as the best set piece taker in the squad, although there’s competition from Broich and others for corner and free kick duty. Brattan also imo is more comfortable playing in this slightly re-augmented that Paartalu has been playing this season as for mine he’s more comfortable further up the park.
In terms of competition for the role, there isn’t really much going around in the squad right now. While Murdocca, Lambadaridis, and new signing Steven Lustica are both central midfielders- none of them have the ability to control a game and play the same role as Brattan. Possibly Lustica could, but the last time I saw him he was in the NYL so with him it’s a bit of a wait and see type case. He doesn’t have the same passing game as Brattan however and is more of a box to box type.
For 53 minutes on Sunday we saw the potential for Luke, now we need to see that on a consistent basis, starting Saturday night in the west against Perth Glory and continuing for the rest of this season and potentially into the ACL. If he does, we may have found our new holding midfielder, otherwise he could be playing elsewhere next season.