Injury fears for Wanderers & Socceroos star 7 weeks out from Asian Cup: ‘Absolutely shattered’

There are fears Western Sydney Wanderers forward Brandon Borrello has fractured a bone in his left foot after being withdrawn early in the Sydney Derby at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.

Borrello drew multiple fouls early on in his side’s Isuzu UTE A-League clash with Sydney FC, with Sky Blues defender Jake Girdwood-Reich clipping his heels in an attempt to win the ball in the seventh minute before a similar challenge from Luke Brattan in midfield four minutes later.

Borrello then took a seat on the pitch in the 14th minute to receive treatment; physios applied ice instantly to the top of his left foot, and after going down into the change rooms, the Wanderers star returned to the bench on crutches to watch the remainder of the first half play out.

Post-game, Wanderers head coach Marko Rudan admitted “it didn’t look good” for his attacking star.

“For Brandon to come off, it’s never a good sign,” he said. “He was feeling something in his foot every time our medical team touched it and he was in pain.”

Rudan refused to criticse Sydney’s fouls on Borrello, describing the one that actually injured him as “innocuous”.

“Who am I to say (something critical?) I was pretty tough myself, you know, in a derby you’ve got to win the fight.

“I don’t care what anybody says, the football gets played once you respect the game and you have to earn the right.

“Nothing’s given, you have to earn it and I thought we were up for that battle. Both teams gave as good as they got.”

At the time of the early substitution, Network 10 reporter Scott Mackinnon relayed the action from pitchside as it unfolded.

“He’s an absolutely shattered man, Brandon Borrello,” Mackinnon said.

“When the physio came along and pressed on the top of his foot, down towards his pinky toe, he winced. He was in a whole lot of pain. He’s come off limping there, tried to soldier on, but he just knew with that pain it wasn’t going to be the night for him.”


Brandon Borrello on the sidelines of the Sydney Derby.

Mackinnon later added: “It’s his foot, and this isn’t good for Wanderers fans: it could be broken as well. That’s the initial concern from the physio down here. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.”

It’s not only the Wanderers who will be eager to hear Borrello’s injury prognosis in the aftermath of Saturday’s Sydney Derby; Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold will be following with intent, with just a matter of weeks remaining before he will be tasked with finalising his squad for the 2024 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.

The tournament kicks off on January 13.

Borrello joined Mackinnon pitchside as the second half of the derby unfolded at Allianz Stadium, and was asked if he knew the extent of the injury.

“No, I don’t know yet,” he replied. “It’s just one of those things, it gets caught under a tackle. I don’t know if I heard a crunch or not, but we’ll see how it goes.

“That’s part (and) parcel of football. It could be a break, it could be nothing. Definitely a bit of pain there, discomfort.”

Former Socceroo Luke Wilkshire said he was crossing his fingers for a positive update on the health of the Wanderers forward.

“You saw the way he reacted coming off,” Wilkshire said. “You saw the disappointment. He knows what’s at stake and how close we are to the Asian Cup.

“It’s a massive loss for the Wanderers tonight and going forward. Let’s hope, fingers crossed, that it’s not as serious as it looks.”

The Wanderers went on to win the derby 1-0, with Borrello’s first-half replacement Zac Sapsford scoring the winning goal in the second half to haunt his former club.

Post-game, Wanderers captain Marcelo expressed his hopes for a speedy Borrello comeback due to his importance to the squad.

“I (haven’t) spoken with him yet. But I’ve seen him, and he’s really sad,” Marcelo said.

“But hopefully he will recovers well, because he’s really important for us. 

“He’s a big name for us, and we need him. So hopefully, it’s nothing serious and he can come back next game to help us.”