Brillante ready to give back to next generation

With over 200 A-League Men appearances, Josh Brillante is one of the most experienced players in the league, and he is now looking to impart his wisdom onto the next generation of Wanderers superstars.

Having signed a two-year deal with the club, Brillante wants to show the importance of having the right mindset and mentality if players are to reach their potential.

“I’ve had a bit of experience around the league and I’m hoping that I can translate and help teach some of the younger ones to help take them to the next level”, the 30-year-old said.

“There’s a lot of players that have that talent there, but there’s a lot more that goes into it than just talent, in terms of making as a footballer (and) having a long career.

“I think for myself, I tried to work on trying to show my actions and my day to day habits, doing all the simple things right and making sure you’re doing everything you can to help progress. All departments of your game each day, just having the right attitude about it.”

He cites teammate Milos Ninkovic as a shining example of this, showing how the Serbian playmaker is still able to perform at the top of his game at 38 years of age.

“There’s a reason that Milos (Ninkovic is) still playing his age, he’s always doing the things that he needs to do to get ready for training. As you get older, you quickly realise that your body needs that extra help. So those little bits and pieces make a big difference along the way.”

Brillante is delighted to be linking up with Ninkovic once again, with the pair previously being teammates for three seasons.

“He’s a top player and a top guy. So it’s great to be back working with him. He’s still going strong, he’s a bit older now… but it’s great to see some friendly faces.”

They seemed to slip straight back into their partnership in the sides Australia Cup win over Floreat Athena, with Brillante assisting Lachlan Brook’s stunning fourth goal, whilst Ninkovic also got two assists as the Wanderers romped to a 6-1 win.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 09: Robert Petkov of Floreat Athena controls the ball under pressure from Milos Ninkovic of Western Sydney during the round of 32 2023 Australia Cup match between Floreat Athena FC and Western Sydney Wanderers FC at Kingsway Reserve, on August 09, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

It is a great start to life in Red & Black for Brillante, who is coming off two seasons at the Melbourne Victory, where he captained the side to an Australia Cup win in 2022.

He has been at five A-League clubs previously, starting with Gold Coast United in 2012.

At Newcastle, he won the Under 20 player of the year award, and his impressive performances in the Hunter earned him a move to Italian Serie A side Fiorentina. After making three appearances in the Italian top flight for La Viola as well as Empoli, he spent a season on loan at Serie B’s Como in 2015-16.

He returned to Australia at the end of 2016, spending three season’s at the club’s crosstown rivals, before spending a season at Melbourne City. His time in the A-League saw him named in the PFA Team of the Season three times, most recently after the 2021/22 season.

The midfielder has settled in nicely to life at Western Sydney, praising the setup and resources on offer at the club.

“It’s been great so far, it’s been a really smooth transition, which is nice and makes things a lot easier to be able to get comfortable and get going. Straight off the bat, I noticed that the club operates at a high level and has a lot of resources and puts a lot of effort into a lot of aspects.”

He is also looking forward to playing in front of the passionate fanbase after years of being on the receiving end of a raucous Wanderland.

“Over the many years I have played against the Wanderers, I’ve had amazing atmospheres and their fans have been crazy, so it’s nice to be on the other side this time!

“That’s what you play for… it gives you that buzz, those goosebumps in the games.”