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Brendon Santalab

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Brendon Santalab looks to the future with Wanderers
  • THE AUSTRALIAN
  • SEPTEMBER 25, 2015 12:00AM
  •  
    Sports reporter
    Sydney
     
 

 

For most footballers approaching their mid-30, there is usually only one decision that comes after suffering successive serious shoulder injuries and spending almost seven months on the sidelines.

 

But most of them are not like Brendon Santalab.

For if anyone thought they might have seen the last of the 33-year-old Western Sydney Wanderers attacker then they are sadly mistaken. Looking and feeling fitter than he has for a long time, Santalab is ready to cast aside the pain, uncertainty and disappointment of the past 12 months and show there is still a lot of life left in his legs for this season’s A-League.

“It has been a long road to recovery but I feel great now,†Santalab said as he mingled with fans during an open day in the heart of Parramatta yesterday. “I am looking forward to the (FFA Cup) game against Perth next week and to the first game of the A-League season. It is exciting and there is plenty to feel confident about.â€

However, that confidence wasn’t always there for Santalab, who admits he had to cope with some mental battles following his spate of injuries.

Santalab missed three months in the early part of last season after dislocating his shoulder, then fractured it just several games into his comeback.

Such is his commitment to the Wanderers that he tried to play through the pain barrier, staying on the field both times before having to be forced off by the team’s medical staff. It’s that sort of never say die and give all attitude that has endeared him to the Wanderers faithful.

While there were some tough times in his recovery process as he sat out the rest of the season, Santalab, who is in the final year of his contract, never gave retirement a thought.

“It never popped into my mind at all,†he said with the look of a man who wondered why such a questioned had been posed.

“I admit the mental issues were harder to overcome than the physical aspect but I soon got over that.

“My body feels great. I think I still have a lot to offer. I want to keep pushing and getting stronger.

“With the training we do at the Wanderers that will prolong my career for sure.

“I definitely want to continue (at the Wanderers). I’d love to stay but it is out of my hands.

“I have to do the work on the training pitch and in the games and see what happens.â€

As much as he is now fit, healthy and raring to go, Santalab knows he is not going to have an easy passage to a starting spot in a Wanderers squad that has undergone massive changes in the off-season.

The signing this week of Socceroos attacker Dario Vidosic has made it just that much harder for him but he is not complaining. Rather he welcomes the challenge.

“That’s football,†he said. “And that’s what you need to have a good team — competition for every spot.

“Dario and Pio (marquee signing Federico Piovaccari) are quality players and it is going to be a battle.

“But I believe my versatility — I can play wide right or left or up front — will be a help to me.

“Whatever the case, it is good business for the club.

“After our poor season last season we have to do much better. The fans expect it.â€

  •  

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/football/brendon-santalab-looks-to-the-future-with-wanderers/story-fn63e0vj-1227542720689

Edited by Flytox

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Q&A session with Santa:

http://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/article/2015/12/22/mr-personality-santa-heading-south-sack-full-presents

 

TWG: You've got the nickname "Santa", so this has got to be your time of year, hasn't it?

BS: (Laughs). Hopefully it will be that way against Newcastle on Christmas Eve. A few goals would be great - that's exactly what I want!

TWG: You got a goal in the 2-2 draw against Perth on Saturday, so it's shaping up well for a good Christmas week.

BS: That was like an early Christmas present. It was great to start the game, I hadn't started for a long, long time due to injuries last season, and to start and score, and for us to twice come back from a goal down was encouraging.

TWG: It's the easiest nickname in the world as a natural shortening of your surname. Is there anyone who doesn't call you Santa?

BS: Everybody calls me Santa and at this time of year it's a bit of a laugh and a joke for me and I just roll on with it and enjoy it. I can't complain about a nickname like Santa - especially at Christmas time!

TWG: So what would you like for Christmas, apart from a win and a goal or two on Christmas Eve?

BS: I'm normally one who loves getting clothes at Christmas, so hopefully that's in my presents somewhere.

TWG: You're a bit of a snappy dresser are you?

BS: Ever since I met my girlfriend, Stephanie, my dress sense has been a lot better apparently. That's the feedback I'm getting from my teammates. I'm a bit into the clothes now so I'd like to get some for Christmas.

TWG: Where will you be on Christmas Day?

BS: I'll be down in Wollongong with my family. Stephanie will be here in Sydney with her family and we'll get together on Boxing Day.

TWG: Do you have to buy a lot of presents? Is there a lot of family?

BS:
Normally as a family we do Kris Kringle and we're doing that again this year, but I've gone all-out and bought for the whole family this year and they're not aware of that. I'm really excited for this year, to hand out all the presents. It should be a nice surprise for the family, because nobody is expecting it.

TWG: Should I mention that? It's going to blow your cover if it gets out there!

BS: Yeah, go ahead, Santa felt generous this year! I felt like spoiling the family. We've been doing Kris Kringle for quite a while and I just felt like it was a good time to give generously. Hopefully I won't have to do it every year now!

TWG: Do you put a bit of thought into it or do you just play it safe and buy gift vouchers?

BS: I do put a lot of thought into it. It's not about how much you spend, it's about the thought and I think people appreciate that more. I'm definitely one to think about what someone would like as a present rather than just buy a boring gift voucher.

TWG: You've had a long and varied career which has taken you to some interesting places around the world. What are the most interesting places, your favourite places, that you've played at?

BS: My first overseas experience was in Singapore and I really enjoyed that. The people welcomed me with open arms and made my first overseas trip one that I'll remember for a long time. I scored lots of goals. It's not the strongest league in the world, but the way the people are and the way the country is run, for me it was a big eye-opener and from there I went on to bigger and better things in my career.

TWG: What's the weirdest thing that has happened to you in your travels?

BS: It would probably be with the Wanderers in China for a big Asian Champions League when someone was driving a mini-van down the freeway and decided to turn in to our bus. Just as a country and the city of Guangzhou as a whole, they tried to stop us from winning the game any way they could. For me, that was the most bizarre experience.

TWG: You guys had no doubt that wasn't an accident, didn't you.

BS: No, it was 100 per cent deliberate. There was no question about that.

TWG: Do you feel like Wanderers is the home you've always been looking for?

BS: Yeah, I really feel at home at the Wanderers. I've been here three years and that's the longest time I've been at any club throughout my career. It's been a staggered career, with some injuries, and I'd like to think I'm finally over that injury hurdle. I feel great now. We've achieved a lot in the last few years at the Wanderers and I'm still hungry for a lot more success.

TWG: Where in the world that you haven't been would you like to go, and not necessarily for football?

BS: Definitely Italy. I've always loved Italy and wanted to go there, ever since I was a kid. It's high on my wish list and hopefully I'll be able to visit there soon with my girlfriend.

TWG: What is it about Italy that you like?

BS: When I was at school, learning about Italy intrigued me. It would be great to go there and actually see all these places and things I was learning about at school.

TWG: What is the best advice you've got for young players coming through?

BS: I think it's to have a level head and work hard. You see a lot of players when they're 17, 18 or even 19 do very well and then fade out of the game and I think it's because their attitude and their character is lacking. Some players think too early that they've made it and that's definitely not the way to think. Along with ability you need hard work. Your best chance to make it as a footballer is to zip it and work hard and that's probably the best advice I could give to younger players coming through.

TWG: On your day off do you hang with the players or go it alone?

BS: We all live in separate parts of Sydney. We're all pretty much spread out. When we have an opportunity we have a coffee sometimes, when we're close by, but normally it's about hanging out with my girlfriend and getting things done on my day off that we have to catch up on.

TWG: Are you into music, or movies, or reading, or any other particular interest?

BS: Yeah I love music. I'm constantly listening to music. The '80s and '90s are my favourites.

TWG: So you like a bit of retro. What are your favourite bands?

BS: Oh, look, I don't really have a favourite, I'm just a general music lover. When a song comes on the radio I'll often know all the words to it. I'm not one to remember the names of songs in particular, but I'll know the words.

TWG: What has the Spanish invasion been like at Wanderers, with several players and an assistant coach all coming across for this season?

BS: It's been a great influence on our success so far this season. I think the Spanish footballers are known to be technically superb and hold possession of the ball and if you look at the way we play now it's definitely a Spanish style. And the rest of the players have gelled very nicely with the Spanish imports. Everyone has bought in to what 'Popa' (coach Tony Popovic) wants.

TWG: What sort of guys are the Spanish players?

BS: Oh, fantastic guys, true professionals, and I think it's always important that when the foreign players come here they set a standard for the local players to try to reach. I think that's what bringing the foreign players in is all about. Even when I was overseas playing in China you had to be better than the locals and the Spanish boys have definitely stepped up this year.

TWG: Have you picked up a bit of Spanish?

BS: Yeah, a little bit. All good words, the boys are pretty good guys and it's all positive.

TWG: Finally, there is still a long way to go this season, but it's been a fabulous first 11 rounds for Wanderers. How excited are you about the potential for the team to do something special?

BS: Look, we set ourselves high standards and we're where we want to be at the moment and we want to be there at the end of the season as well. There's no hiding that we've improved out of sight from last season and there's no reason why we can't go on and chase the title this season. We have great depth in our squad as well this season and no Asian Champions League to deal with either. We're in a great position after 11 rounds, but there's a long way to go and football can change very quickly, so we're very excited to be where we are but with 16 rounds to go we need to be even better than we've been so far to take the title.

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Thought this was poignant considering the murmurs of discontent amongst some of our Youth players this season.
 

TWG: What is the best advice you've got for young players coming through?

BS: I think it's to have a level head and work hard. You see a lot of players when they're 17, 18 or even 19 do very well and then fade out of the game and I think it's because their attitude and their character is lacking. Some players think too early that they've made it and that's definitely not the way to think. Along with ability you need hard work. Your best chance to make it as a footballer is to zip it and work hard and that's probably the best advice I could give to younger players coming through.

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http://www.wswanderersfc.com.au/article/western-sydney-wanderers-forward-brendon-santalab-signs-multi-year-contract-extension-with-the-hyundai-a-league-club/xc8mgr47q5n41klj4rsi1w2pu

 

NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers forward Brendon Santalab today signed a two-year contract extension.
The fan favourite has been in scintillating form this season, scoring five goals, creating another and yet to taste defeat in his 12 appearances to date.

image: http://images.performgroup.com/di/library/Western_Sydney_Wanderers/84/4d/brendon-santalab_4lcfinkqc32v1mwa2g928kkwt.jpg?t=-1100491550

brendon-santalab_4lcfinkqc32v1mwa2g928kk
 
A proven goal scorer and livewire in the attacking third, Santalab has shown a desire and commitment to the Red & Black in his three seasons with the club that has earned him an extended stay.
 
Santalab has a total of 53 appearances and 15 goals for the Wanderers having played a major role in qualifying for a Hyundai A-League Grand Final and winning the 2014 AFC Champions League.

image: http://images.performgroup.com/di/library/Western_Sydney_Wanderers/af/d7/brendon-santalab-sydney-derby_1f6kj9slrhai51tau2zj277mih.jpg?t=871500258

brendon-santalab-sydney-derby_1f6kj9slrh
 
The in-form striker said that he didn’t think twice about committing his future to Western Sydney.
 
“I'm delighted to have re-signed for a further two years with the best club in Australian football,†said Santalab.
 
“The club is still very young and has an incredibly bright future and I look forward to much more success in the Red & Black.
 
“Tony Popovic, my teammates, our passionate fans and the Club as a whole have put me in a position to improve myself as a player and a person every day, it was a very easy decision to stay at the Wanderers and I'm honoured to be given this contract.â€

image: http://images.performgroup.com/di/library/Western_Sydney_Wanderers/72/5b/brendon-santalab-central-coast-mariners_hb72koifh6901hewoxocj4bft.jpg?t=1745512618

brendon-santalab-central-coast-mariners_
 
CEO John Tsatsimas said that Santalab was the model professional.
 
“In Brendon Santalab you have a player who is as committed off the field as he is on it: whether it be on game day, at  training or during appearances in the community with his work with Ronald McDonald House Westmead and other charity initiatives, Brendon is working hard and scoring goals,†said Tsatsimas.
 
“We’re delighted that Brendon will be remaining at Wanderland for the next two seasons, he’s a fan favourite and loved by everyone at the club.
 
“We look forward to two more successful and enjoyable years with Santa.â€

 

Edited by Jewwfro

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Love it. NTS, Bridgey and Santa embody the WSW never give up gene. They represent the club more than anyone else (with the exception of Popa, of course).

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FCB don't forget Alberto's new found legendary status we all want to slap that Albanian Salesman

 

Hahaha. Once Ben Williams realises that Berisha was the source of all the pushing and shoving, and that Berisha fooled him (it should only take him a few weeks), chances are that Berisha is getting the same treatment as Jamo. I just hope it will be in a more appropriate color.

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Love it. NTS, Bridgey and Santa embody the WSW never give up gene. They represent the club more than anyone else (with the exception of Popa, of course).

 

add Jamieson to that list :)

 

still love his "We can win this" after we scored a late goal early this season, great attitude to have.

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Love it. NTS, Bridgey and Santa embody the WSW never give up gene. They represent the club more than anyone else (with the exception of Popa, of course).

add Jamieson to that list :)

 

still love his "We can win this" after we scored a late goal early this season, great attitude to have.

Future captain material.

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Never bought a personilsed jersey before, 

Santa is might be my first

Same here.

 

Now that he has resigned, the decision became even easier

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Never bought a personilsed jersey before,

Santa is might be my first

Same here.

 

Now that he has resigned, the decision became even easier

I'm deciding between him and Jameison,

 

Think I might just get both lol

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