The term rock at the back is used a lot in football but it’s difficult to use any other expression when it comes to describing Macaulay Gillesphey’s time at Brisbane Roar so far. The 24-year-old defender has started every one of the Roar’s matches this season, missing just 50 minutes of league action.
Having started the campaign playing left-back in Brisbane’s two FFA Cup matches, he has been unmovable from centre-back ever since, playing in a back three which also includes former Bury man Tom Aldred.
It was Robbie Fowler who brought the English pair to the club last summer, ahead of his first season in charge of the A-League club. Having spent two seasons playing in the league himself, being the top scorer for North Queensland Fury and Perth Glory, the Liverpool legend came into the job knowing what it takes to score in this league but he also wanted to build a solid foundation at the back, that’s where Gillesphey and Aldred came in.
After a slow start to the season, Fowler has now got his side moving in the right direction and they have lost just one game in their last nine matches. The impressive run of form has seen them move up into the playoff spots with eight regular season matches left.
Gillesphey has played his fair part in the movement up the league and even scored his first goal for the club last weekend in their 1-1 draw with second place Perth Glory. He also made the Hyundai A-League team of the week in round 15.
This season is the defender’s first season playing abroad, having started his career with local club Newcastle United. His first taste of senior football came during a loan spell with Carlisle United in 2015, which was extended for the following season. After a season back with the Magpies, he made the move permanently to Cumbria in 2018. After one year, he was allowed to leave the club to join Fowler’s revolution of the Roar.
With eight matches left, the 24-year-old defender will be hoping to help his side into the playoffs, which would be a marked improvement on last season when the side finished second-bottom.
This Sunday sees Brisbane travel to Melbourne City, who currently occupy third spot. A win for the Roar would see them right in the mix to finish as runners-up this year behind runaway leaders Sydney, ahead of the playoffs.
I got the chance to ask Macaulay a few quick questions on how his time in Australia has been so far.
English Players Abroad: How have you found living in Australia? Did you settle in well?
Macaulay Gillesphey: Australia is an amazing country and I’ve settled in really well, the weather makes it a lot easier to enjoy my time here.
EPA: What’s the standard like in the A League compared to what you were used to?
MG: It’s a different style to what I am used to but the standard is very good and I am enjoying the challenge.
EPA: What’s it like playing under Robbie Fowler, is he a good coach?
MG: I’m really enjoying my time playing under Robbie, I’m learning a lot from him.
EPA: How would you assess your season so far?
MG: We have a lot of new players it’s been a slow start for us but it’s all starting to come together and progress as a team.
EPA: Finally, would you recommend the A League to other English players?
MG: I’d definitely recommend the A league to other English players, if you get the opportunity I’d most certainly take it.