New Signing Adds Steel To Strikers’ Cause

Feb 21, 2018 by

The Brisbane Strikers have moved to bolster their midfield and defensive options by signing former New Zealand Under-20 international Brock Messenger.

Messenger, 22, arrived in Brisbane last week after spending several months with New Zealand club Eastern Suburbs AFC (of Auckland) but did not receive his international clearance in time to figure in Strikers’ selection plans for Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Moreton Bay United.

Messenger’s stint with Eastern Suburbs followed a spell in the Finnish second tier with FF Jaro and prior to that with US club Burlingame Dragons in San Francisco. In 2015 he was in the New Zealand Under-20 squad that made it to the knockout phase of the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

Strikers football manager David Large said Messenger was a versatile and confident young footballer who would add both muscle and quality to the Strikers’ cause.

“What I was looking for initially was another defender, which is what he is,” said Large in announcing Messenger’s signing.

“I want to bring a little bit of steel to our defensive shape and I think he is versatile in the way that he can play right across the back line and also in the ‘six’ (as a defensive midfielder).

“I’m looking to toughen the squad up a bit and when he became available, for me he was just an automatic choice.”

Large said he had been alerted to Messenger’s availability by Strikers fullback Sam Knight, who played with Messenger at Fire and had kept in touch with the player when he was in Finland.

“Sammy asked me if I could remember him, and I said I did – he was a really good player. So Sammy said, ‘well, why don’t you ask him? If he’s coming back to New Zealand he might be interested’.”

“So I did and it just went from there”.

Messenger, who also had a year with Sunshine Coast FC Fire under the coaching of Kevin A’Herne-Evans (later the coach of the Strikers) in 2014, said the connections he formed then, along with the reputation of the Strikers and the National Premier Leagues, had influenced his decision to cross the Tasman.

“I know Greig Henslee and Sammy Knight through Sunshine Coast Fire and I’ve kept in contact with them for the last few years,” Messenger said.

“I wasn’t enjoying my football as much as I wanted to in Finland and this was a great opportunity to come to a good club. I’ve only heard good things about it through Kevin, and boys like Sammy and Greig, who said great things about the club and I thought it would be a good opportunity to come here.

“They’re in one of the best leagues in the country and it’s a great team as well. They’ve made the finals in the last few years and have been quite unlucky – they haven’t won the final, but they’ve won the premiership – and I want to come here and win trophies and do what I can”.

On the subject of ‘doing what he can’, when asked exactly what he thought that was Messenger gave a straightforward answer.

“A lot of physicality and leadership,” he said. “I like to be a talker on the field and win the challenges and drive forward with the ball. I’m a very attack-minded player but love defending as well.”

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