Smith: Brattan will only get better

Brisbane Roar’s goal-scoring star Luke Brattan is a tough footballer who can still improve, according to his  captain Matt Smith.

Brattan popped up with his goal of the season on Saturday - a sensational winner in Roar’s 1-0 triumph over Melbourne Victory.

The Hull-born midfielder has been a standout for Brisbane this season as the club romped away with the league.

“Brattsy’s always been fantastic,” Smith said.

“Unfortunately in previous years Erik (Paartalu) kind of made that spot his own and Brattsy was just waiting for the opportunity.

“When Erik left us in the previous January, Brattsy got the opportunity to step up. He’s not only made that position his own, he’s now regarded as one of the best number sixes in the competition.”

Brattan is gaining a reputation for scoring important and spectacular goals including his long-range effort against the Victory which sealed the premiership.

Earlier in the season the 24-year rifled home up another last-gasp winner against Wellington, and has notched up three goals and two assists this campaign.

“We actually joke at training whenever we do shooting practice outside he always flies them over,” Smith said.

“There’s been a couple of occasions this year, he’s managed to turn it on in the game. Wellington Phoenix was one, there might have been a bit of a deflection, but he hit that pretty well and obviously likewise against the Victory.

“It was a fantastic strike and I think there was only one thing on his mind when Thomas (Broich) laid the ball across to him. He hit it well and found the bottom corner to the stadium’s delight.”

Brattan’s impressive displays at the heart of Brisbane’s midfield have reportedly led to overseas interest, and many have tipped the midfielder as a future Socceroo.

A Rochedale Rovers and Queensland Lions junior, Brattan made his A-League debut with the Roar in 2010.

Smith said the best thing about the former Young Socceroo is that he has a good head on his shoulders.

“He’s realistic in his expectations and what he wants to achieve as a player,” Roar’s skipper said.

“He’s now spent a year-and-a-half playing regular first team in the A-League. To be honest, I think he can still get better. There’s elements from his game that we’re constantly pushing from him and challenging him on a day-in-day-out basis.

“He’s played a bit part before, coming on and off the bench, but consistently playing A-League football is going to give him the best opportunity to get better.

“He’s had a fantastic year for us so far and he really deserves the accolades that he’s been getting.

“But knowing Brattsy, he’s very driven. He wants to really be successful, keep pushing his performances to the next level and obviously, in tune with that, hopefully the club can be successful as well.”

Brattan picked up a knock during the Victory match but shrugged it off and stayed on the field to score the deciding goal.

“Brattsy’s quite a tough little cookie,” Smith said.

“We joke around that he’s always carrying something, or always cramping up. But that’s the one thing you know you’re going to get. Some players can play through a bit of pain and there are some players that can’t.

“And Brattsy’s the sort of player that won’t let a little niggle or a little hit get to him. He’s played through the pain before and he’ll probably do it again.”