Australian Blake Ricciuto has scored his eighth goal in 14 games as the defensive midfielder signed from the NSW NPL blitzes the Singapore Premier League with the ladder-leaders Brunei DPMM.
“It didn’t happen for me in the A-League back home, but there’s no other place I’d rather be and I’m loving life as a professional here."
Ricciuto played in the NPL NSW. NPL Victoria star Liam Boland - who is also around the top of the scorers charts - told FTBL last week about the difficulties of NPL players combining work and football.
“You’ve got to find motivation within. And it’s tough for young players with aspirations trying to get noticed when you’ve worked all day,” the Avondale striker said.
Similarly, former A-League star and now Dandenong City striker Brendon Santalab told FTBL of his admiration for NPL players in Australia.
“I take my hat off to NPL players. My teammates who come off job sites and wake up at ridiculous hours in the morning to go to work, and work their backside off all day and come to training in the cold and still give the 100% effort.”
Ricciuto’s form has even alerted Uruguayan media, with the former Penarol player - who has Uruguayan heritage - speaking on Uruguayan radio recently about his career resurgence in south-east Asia.
Ricciuto added: “The gaffer wants me to get a little more forward, even though I’m in a defensive role in a 3-5-2 formation playing deep.
“I look to get my shots on target. And I get forward and back.”
The blond midfielder played at Penarol in 2014/15 before returning to Australia’s semi-pro NPL with the Suns.
After he earned a trial with the Brunei club at the start of 2019, Ricciuto was signed and has been an instant sensation.
Ricciuto, however, picked up his fourth yellow card on the weekend, which will see him miss his club’s next match.
He added: “My main aim now is to try and win the championship. We’re one point ahead, we probably dropped two points against Warriors but we’re still top of the table."