Brillante sends message to teammates as City prepare for maiden Grand Final
As the only Melbourne City player to have ran out in a Hyundai A-League Grand Final, newly-appointed captain Josh Brillante has delivered some valuable words of advice to his teammates ahead of the club’s first appearance in the showpiece match.
Brillante made the switch from Sydney FC at the start of the campaign, having previously pulled on the Sky Blue jersey twice in the big dance, and the tenacious midfielder led the Victorian club beyond the Semi-Final stage for the first time in five attempts with a 2-0 win against competition newcomers Western United on Wednesday.
After skipper Scott Jamieson elected not to relocate to the Sydney hub, Brillante was awarded the captain’s armband by coach Erick Mombaerts for the business end of a rollercoaster campaign which has included an enforced four-month lockdown, an inter-state move, a 14-day quarantine period and more than six weeks living away from friends and family in an isolation bubble.
With the opportunity to write their names into club folklore and lift City’s maiden Hyundai A-League silverware, the 27-year-old is using his platform to rally the City troops as they prepare to do battle with his former club at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday, 6.30pm AEST kick-off.
“I’ve already mentioned a few things about that, trying to tell them to enjoy the experience and to take it on,” Brilliante added.
“A lot of people don’t get that many opportunities to be in these sort of games.
“They are not the same as your league matches where 90 minutes is done and then you’ve got next week.”
“This is it. These are the big games. This is what you play for all year.
“These are the games that you make those memories.”
It has been a rapid ascent to a leadership position for Brillante after he and Luke Brattan essentially traded places in the heart of Sydney and City’s midfield last off-season.
The Grand Final will be only the fifth time the Queenslander has strapped on the captain’s armband for City but he is fully aware of the significance of the moment if he is the man lifting the Hyundai A-League Championship come full-time on Sunday.
“Its been crazy really,” Brillante said. “I’ve slotted in quite well and everyone has been great to me.
“Now I’ve been given this opportunity to captain this last few games of the season, which didn’t really expect.
“I try to play a positive role in the team regardless and have a positive impact on the way we play and just the vibe around the camp.
“It’s an honour to be in this position and hopefully I can leave a mark.”
With media speculation suggesting City Football Group may acquire French Ligue 2 club Troyes AC, it has been reported that Mombaerts may be in line to return to his homeland and take the reigns if they become City’s newest sister club.
Although those reports have not been confirmed, Brillante says the City camp is focused on delivering a historic result for the club no matter what happens after Sunday’s game.
“Regardless of whether he stays or goes, that’s not what you want to win for,” Brillante said.
“You want to win for the club and a Grand Final is the biggest stage to have those experiences and have a winning Grand Final behind your back.
“Everyone wants to do it for that, and for each other. If that happens to be another thing on top of that, that’s just a bonus.”
And he is happy to admit that putting one over his old team is a factor motivating the the five-cap Socceroo.
“I won a lot of trophies there and had good memories there so it’s a great opportunity for an exciting challenge,” he said.
“I know they’ve been in finals before and won it, so it makes it all that better, that next level, if we get the win, it’s something nice inside to have that feeling.”
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Hyundai A-League Grand Final 2020
Sydney FC v Melbourne City
When: Sunday, August 30
Kick-off: 6.30pm AEST
Venue: Bankwest Stadium
Broadcast: ABC ME delayed at 8.25pm, FOX Sports 507
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports, ABC iView