The player was previously playing with Melbourne Victory in the A-League.

Many Bagan fans were in dismay after their foreign center-back Tiri suffered a long-term injury in the AFC Cup. Not just for the implications it would have on the tournament, but also for the upcoming season. Since then, the club management has left no stone unturned in reinforcing its defense.

Their first defensive signing came in the form of Australian center-back Brendan Hamill. Head Coach Juan Ferrando is said to have handpicked the 29-year-old among the profiles that the club looked at. ATK Mohun Bagan would go on to sign another foreign defender in Florentin Pogba, keeping the AFC Cup knockout stage in mind.

Brendan Hamill has played the majority of his career in his home country, while also plying his trade in South Korea for two seasons. The Sydney-born defender’s profile is highlighted by the AFC Champions League victory with Western Sydney Wanderers, the biggest prize in Asian Club Football. He was also a constant feature in the youth sides of the Australian National Team.

Still in the best years of his career, Hamill promises to be a crucial figure in the heart of the Mariners’ defense for the 2022/23 season.

Prior Experience

He has also played in the Korean league in the past. (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Brendan Hamill started playing for semi-professional teams in Australia when he was around sixteen years of age. In 2008, he joined the New South Wales National Training Centre in Sydney, his hometown. The NSWNT has produced some top talents like Aaron Mooy (Manchester City), Caitlin Foord (Arsenal WFC), and Adam Federici (Stoke City) among other Australian internationals. Hamill joined the AIS soccer program in 2009, like many other NSWNT graduates.

On April 23, 2010, Hamill signed his first professional contract with Melbourne Heart. It was also the very first season of the club in Australian Football, and in the A-League. Hamill made his debut on 5th August, 2010 as the player to represent the club at 17 years and 321 days old. John van ‘t Schip didn’t give him too many opportunities in 2010/11 but he was a regular starter in the subsequent season.

The youngster received an opportunity from Korea and went on to sign for K-League outfit Seongnam FC. After featuring in the final few games of the season, Hamill was loaned to Gangwon FC.

In 2014, the 21-year-old signed for reigning A-League Champions Western City Wanderers. He would lift the AFC Champions League in his first year with the Wanderers, starting all the crucial games. Hamill became a mainstay in the Wanderers’ defense for the next five seasons, despite not winning any silverware.

After spending two years at Western United, Hamill reunited with his ACL-winning coach Tony Popovic at Melbourne Victory. On 5th February 2022, he would taste domestic success by lifting the 2021 FFA Cup. ATK Mohun Bagan secured his services a few months later, signing him on a two-year deal.

Type of Player

Hamill has appeared in more than 150 club games in his career. (Courtesy: MB)

While sometimes being deployed as a right-back in his early days, Brendan Hamill has established himself as a centre-back since. With an impressive height of over six feet, Hamill is a defender who is very comfortable on the ball. He had a 88% passing accuracy and 46% long ball accuracy in the 2021/22 A-League season.

A right footed player, Popovic used him as the right centre-back in a back four that conceded the least goals in the league last season. While having decent defensive attributes, Hamill is potent at finding attackers with his long balls. He supplied the most accurate long balls per game (2.4) after versatile defender Roderick Miranda (3.9) for Melbourne.

Due to the presence of robust tacklers beside him like Jason Geria, Miranda, and Jason Davidson, Hamill was used as the passing outlet in the back four. Popovic employed a direct style of attacking football last season. Melbourne Victory rank seventh among the 12 A-League teams in terms of average ball possession. They also rank a lowly eighth in accurate passes per game.

Hamill’s height makes him a constant threat in set-piece situations. He was the second-highest goalscoring defender in the league with three goals to his name. Two of those came from headers inside the box.

What he brings to the team

Under Juan Ferrando, Hamill will be tasked with building attacks from the back. His intelligence and vision will bring the fullbacks and midfielders into play. Hamill will also be expected to push forward and cover space on occasions, like his predecessor Tiri, who had a penchant for supplying long balls.

Ferrando’s possession-based football is tailor-made for someone like Hamill. Alongside those attributes, the Australian’s athleticism, composure, and experience of playing on the big stage will certainly benefit the side. A defensive partnership with Florentin Pogba is on the cards in the AFC Cup as ATK Mohun Bagan have qualified for the Inter-Zonal Semi-Final for a consecutive year.

To prevent a disaster like the 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Nasaf last year, Hamill will have to play a key role for the Green and Maroon army.

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