There was a familiar face amongst the substitutes over at Macedonia Park in Perth last weekend as Ellie Brush was named on a Canberra United team sheet for the first time since the 2016/17 season and, whilst she didn’t see any action, there’s every chance that Friday evening’s match at Seiffert Oval might see her back on the field.
The visit of Melbourne City to the iconic Queanbeyan venue is likely to see Brush involved in some capacity and it would be fitting if the experienced central defender made her much anticipated return to United action in front of her adoring home supporters.
Brush was skipper of the Canberra United side in both of the team’s memorable Liberty A-League Grand Final triumphs, lifting the trophy in the victories over Brisbane Roar at McKellar Park and against Perth Glory in Western Australia and, it’s the former success that lingers in the memory.
“The first title we won which was at McKellar Park in front of our home fans was the pick of the bunch,” Brush recalled of the sensational 3-2 triumph over the Roar in front of a packed house at the Belconnen venue. “That was my favourite memory of playing for Canberra United.”
Brush had spells at Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC before returning to United this summer as a new mum and relishing the chance to play in front of the vociferous United supporters who, realistically, had thought that they had seen the last of Brush in that famous green shirt.
“Gosh [Head Coach Njegosh Popovich] reached out and had the faith in me to make a comeback and help towards a successful campaign at United,” Brush revealed of the decision that saw her make the return trip down the Hume Highway and into the welcoming arms of the Canberra United family.
“It was a huge decision to leave Sydney though, and I have my wife to thank for the support she is and major sacrifice that it was for her to agree to move our little family to Canberra. I’m lucky enough to have my wife and baby Leo make the trip down the highway with me. So, we’ll all be living here.”
That family was extended with the addition of little Leo and the arrival of a newborn has certainly changed the perception for Brush in terms of how she sees her particpation in the game which has seen her ply her trade in both Norway (with Avaldsnes) and the United States (with Houston Dash).
“Family life has probably changed my outlook a lot,” Brush said. “Playing sport at this level requires a lot of sacrifices and sacrifices of your loved ones too. It’s given me a lot of perspective of what’s really important in life.”
For Canberra fans just seeing Brush back in the colours in which she was most successful is a treat in itself. This Friday may just be that moment when she walks back onto that field in green and reignites a mutual love affair.
Canberra United face Melbourne City at Seiffert Oval on Friday 23 December 2022 with kick-off at 6pm. Tickets are available for pre-purchase here.
Canberra United v Melbourne City
(Seiffert Oval, Queanbeyan, 18:00)