RISING Jet Josh Brillante knows the defensive midfield role vacated by ex-captain Jobe Wheelhouse must be earned.
Filling in during Wheelhouse’s injury woes and fellow midfield marshal Ruben Zadkovich’s suspensions, Brillante has started 10 of his 14 games for the Jets since leaving Gold Coast United.
Wheelhouse’s departure from the club last week handed Brillante his first appearance as a first-choice midfielder in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Sydney.
‘‘It’s a good opportunity for me to play in the midfield and try and do well for the team and hopefully make a mark in the finals,’’ Brillante told the Newcastle Herald.
But the recruitment of the experienced Zenon Caravella from Adelaide and with youngsters Jacob Pepper and Mitch Oxborrow desperate for an opportunity, the Bundaberg product knows he must keep performing.
Asked if Wheelhouse’s departure made him feel more secure in the side, Brillante said: ‘‘I don’t think it’s like that at all.
‘‘I’ve still got to work hard as there’s other boys who play in the midfield that are doing well at the moment, so I just want to concentrate hard and play well and keep earning my spot.’’
Brillante and his teammates struggled at times on Saturday to deal with the craft of Alessandro Del Piero.
Playing out from the back also proved problematic.
The Sky Blues’ goals came directly from Jets turnovers in their own half.
‘‘It wasn’t the best game and the weather made it difficult for us, but we’ll take the one point and look forward to the future and next week’s game,’’ Brillante said.
‘‘We want to try and play our game and play out from the back, so sometimes that’s going to happen.
‘‘It was raining and wet and then it went sunny and then starting raining again, so it made it very difficult.’’
WORKHORSE: Josh Brillante knows he cannot rest on his laurels. Picture: Simone De Peak