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  • Luke Brattan playing for Melbourne City (Getty Images AsiaPac)Source: Getty Images AsiaPac
Melbourne City lost their most proficient playmaker in Aaron Mooy over the offseason, but the arrival of three-time A-League Champion, Luke Brattan, can help fill the void, writes Luke Sicari.
10 Oct 2016 - 2:59 PM  UPDATED 10 Oct 2016 - 2:59 PM

Mooy was the man that made City click. Regarded by many as one of the greatest Australian players to ever play in the A-League, Mooy’s poise with the ball at his feet and intelligence to make the right decision is sensational.

In games where Mooy missed, it was clear City lacked a central playmaker. They had no one who could adequately play the ball to Bruno Fornaroli and Mooy’s stellar long-range shots were also missed.   

How Melbourne would replace Mooy, who provided 11 goals and 20 assists last season, was one of the headaches facing John van’t Schip heading into the new campaign.

However, after just one league fixture and multiple preseason outings, it’s clear that Brattan can play in the role that Mooy did.  

Following a strong preseason run, where City saw glimpses of how Brattan can play as the link-up man between midfield and attack, the former Brisbane Roar stalwart displayed his full arsenal in trying circumstances during Melbourne’s 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix.  

In a first-half where City played the attacking football we expect from them, Brattan was commanding in the midfield. He was instrumental in every City attack, as Brattan dictated the middle of the park.

Brattan’s passing expertise was in full effect. He delivered a picture-perfect ball to the back post in the 25th minute, only for Glen Moss to make a terrific save on Fornaroli’s heading attempt at goal.

While Brattan showed his attacking instincts and smarts in the first half, the second half presented a different challenge for City. Down to 10-man after Thomas Sorensen’s red card in the 58th minute, Melbourne had to switch to a defensive game plan, an area where they struggled mightily last season.

In what was out of character for City in the second half, filled with physicality, strong tackles and an ugliness that isn’t applied to van’t Schip’s squad, Brattan was able to help Melbourne maintain their 1-0 lead.

Brattan was winning the ball back in defence, made wise decisions under Phoenix pressure and was able to play a defensive game that many previous City members couldn’t atone to.  

“In the second half we needed to play a bit different and we saw another side of the team that was fighting,” van’t Schip said postgame.

“Those new boys immediately showed the side that we want this year and that’s fighting, being a team and of course, playing good football.”

Brattan was able to do both on Saturday, as he combines an attacking flair with strong defence, two qualities that will help City overcome the loss of Mooy.