We've spoken to Sydney FC midfielder Brandon O’Neill about his thoughts ahead of tomorrow night's game against the Sutherland Sharks, his international hopes and his recent wedding.
O’Neill started every single game he played adding up to a whopping 2,429 minutes of playing time in the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season as well as scoring two goals. He’s a dominating force in midfield and is entering his fourth season with the Sky Blues.
Q: So Brandon, we play the Sutherland Sharks at one of our new homes tomorrow night - Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah, what is the general atmosphere leading up to the game in the changing room?
A: Its really good, the start back to pre season is always going to be an exciting time, especially leading up to our first competitive game which is next week in the FFA Cup. Everyone has been training really well and I think we’ve done 12 sessions in the past couple of weeks that are high intensity and really high standard. Everyone from the younger lads to our oldest campaigners are looking really fit and the freshness of pre-season has brought the best out of everyone.
Q: So are you personally looking forward to tomorrow night's match?
A: Yes I am, it’s another good run out leading up to our FFA Cup game next Wednesday and a chance to get more minutes in the legs. We want to work on a few things that we’ve started to implicate in pre-season training. I just love playing matches, I love being able to set yourself a challenge of getting fit and getting yourself back into it. I love being able to make sure I outrun someone else. That is what pre-season is all about, getting minutes into your legs and facing your challenges. This game tomorrow night will be another good test for us at the start of our pre-season games.
Q: Great! Do you think you and the team are in peak fitness ahead of the pre-season matches?
A: Not just yet but we are getting there! We’ve got 12 weeks until the start of our first Hyundai A-League game and obviously you can’t get 90% of the work done in the space of 3 weeks. What we will be is as fit as possible and make sure we go out and win the game tomorrow and the FFA Cup game on Wednesday. Not only myself but a lot of that lads feel if we do the work now leading into the game tomorrow and especially next Wednesday, we’ll be able to put in a good performance and get a win.
Q: Are you looking forward to playing in one of our new stadiums tomorrow night?
A: We trained there on Monday and we’ve done a couple of sessions there and it’s a lovely stadium. The pitch is in a good condition and the ball moves well on it. The lads like the feel of it and we’re looking forward to playing our football there. The pitch fits our playing style so everything points to us having a successful playing time down at Kogarah.
Q: You’re entering your fourth season here at Sydney, do you have any personal targets you’d like to achieve this season?
A: My main goal this year is to become an international player, I think I’m at the stage now in my career that if I do what I’ve been doing the last couple of years, I won’t be in line to be able to accomplish that. I need to be better in all aspects of my game this year for that to happen and I know the areas in which I need to improve on. This pre-season is making sure I’m working on my weaknesses so I go into the season the best that I can be. I’ve had a good last few seasons with Sydney FC and I know what it takes to become an international footballer. I’m 24 now and I’m experienced in the A-League and I think I’m ready to give it a right go and make sure that happens.
Q: You recently got married in the off-season, congratulations from all of us here at Sydney FC! Is married life any different?
It’s no different! Me and my wife have had a really good relationship and we’ve been together since high school so nearly 7 years! I’m very lucky to be able to have her in my life and she’s been a great support and to be able to share a footballing journey with her is awesome! I’m very lucky to have her for life now!