Brook: It’s all about falling in love with the game again

Olyroos forward Lachlan Brook has signed a two-season contract with Western Sydney Wanderers, returning to Australia after a stint abroad at English club Brentford FC.

Brook burst onto the Australian scene at Adelaide United, winning the Isuzu UTE A-League Young Footballer of the Year award alongside Taras Gomulka in 2019-20.

He joined Brentford B in October of 2020, rejoining the Reds on loan in early 2022 for the remainder of the 2021-22 A-League Men season, before going out on a second loan to Crewe Alexandra for the 2022-23 English League Two season.

Now, he returns to the A-League Men on a deal that ties the 22-year-old to the Wanderers until the conclusion of the 2024-25 season.

“The interest from the club was massive for me,” Brook said. “They’ve shown me what they want to do with me and after having a chat with (head coach Marko Rudan), I knew that this was going to be the best place for me to develop and improve my game.

“I know that the Wanderers are a massive club with a very good member and fan base, and having played at CommBank Stadium before, I know that it is an amazing stadium and I can’t wait to play there again.

“For me, it’s all about falling in love with the game again and learning to add goals and assists to my game.

“I need consistent game time under a great coach so that’s what I’m looking to do at the Red & Black.”

Wanderers head coach Rudan added: “We are delighted to be able to work with Lachlan over the next two seasons as we continue his development both as a professional footballer and person.

“We welcome him and his family to the red and black.” 

Why Lachie Brook is coming home

Speaking to KEEPUP in pre-camp ahead of the Olyroos’ campaign at the Maurice Revello Tournament, Brook – who was ultimately ruled out with injury – delivered a fascinating interview that provided an insight into his feelings about English football and the A-Leagues.

At the time, he had just concluded a League Two season that saw him score three goals in 34 matches for Crewe Alexandra, who finished 13th before concluding his loan spell.

“If you look at the season from an outsider’s point of view, it might look like a negative step but I just think every year and every time you play football, you’re learning. There’s never a wrong move,” Brook explained.

“Maybe on paper it didn’t look like the greatest move, but the things that I learned in that time and the things I’m going to learn from that and pushing forward are going to help me, its massive.

“I think it was something that definitely will help me out in the long run.”

Still, a reflection on the loan stint he spent back at boyhood club Adelaide United in 2022 provides a hint as to why he has now signed on to return home with the Wanderers.

“I think the Adelaide move was the best thing I’ve ever done for my football,” he said.

“I was sort of getting to a point overseas where I felt like I was playing football for the sake of it. Going back to Adelaide definitely made me fall in love with the game again, so that time probably the happiest I’ve been playing football ever.

“I’m from Adelaide… if it was up to me, I’d play there for the rest of my life. Honestly, I never had a bad moment there. In terms of my overall mental health, it was huge. It literally put me in the right step to just continue to play football and really enjoy it. It was massive.”

He added: “I’m like A-League’s biggest advocate, honestly. Anyone that I speak to back in England or anywhere, I think they’ve got a bit of an arrogance about the league in terms of that they don’t think its very high level … it’s a little bit of a shame.

“You look at the World Cup and how that went, most of the players that stood out either came from the A-League or are playing there still. I think the World Cup did a really good job of… awakening everyone’s idea of the A-League.

“I’ve played in it, I’ve watched it, it’s criminally underrated.

“The way that its portrayed in other leagues is crazy. I know, I think if those A-League teams were in other leagues, especially within England, they’d be high League One or bottom Championship, maybe with a bigger squad. For sure, the role it has played for me is massive.

“The best thing about the A-League is how you can get the younger players through. That has really been the focus the last four or five years, you see how many younger players are playing then moving overseas, it’s the perfect pathway.”