Erik Paartalu signs for Brisbane

Brisbane Roar’s recruiting campaign for the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season has taken another step forward with the signing of Scottish-based Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu to a three-year contract.

Brisbane Roar-s recruiting campaign for the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season has taken another step forward with the signing of Scottish-based Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu to a three-year contract. Paartalu has been signed from Scottish Division One outfit Greenock Morton having spent four years plying his trade in the hustle and bustle of Scottish football.

Still only 23, the 193cm defensive midfielder has plenty of first team experience from his time with Morton, Gretna and Stirling Albion.

Despite enjoying his time in Scotland, Paartalu said he was ready to return to Australia and the professional environment of the Hyundai A-League.

“My contract was running down with Morton in the summer and there was plenty of interest from Ange (Postecoglou),” Paartalu said.

“Working with him was a big draw to come back at the right time.

“I-ve been watching the progress of the A-League and I always imagined myself playing in it, it was just a matter of timing of when to come back.

“I feel the way things are going in Australia I-d like to give it a crack and with what Ange is trying to put together for next season it is going to be interesting and exciting.

“It was an opportunity I couldn-t refuse really.”

The demise of the former National Soccer League left Paartalu with few options if he was to develop his career, having been on the cusp of first team football with Northern Spirit.

Having packed his bags for the UK in 2006, Paartalu eventually found a home in Scotland with Gretna - where he was a regular in the side which won promotion to the Scottish Premier League in the 2006/07 season - and has since established himself as a consistent performer in the first division.

During his time in Scotland to-date he has made nearly 100 first team starts, including three in Gretna-s ill-fated Scottish Premier League campaign.

“It would have been an easy option to stay in Australia when the NSL shut down as I was only a young boy,” he said.

“I really have learnt a lot about myself over here and matured as a player.

“I-ve seen a lot of things in the past four years that will hopefully put me in good stead for the adventure at Brisbane Roar.”

Aside from his height, Paartalu believes his solid distribution from a deeper midfield position and eye for goal from distance will bring a different dimension to the Roar midfield.

The physical aspect of Paartalu-s game is something Roar coach Postecoglou believes can have a huge impact at the club.

“I think he-s the kind of defensive midfielder we need at the club,” Postecoglou said.

“Now is a perfect time for him to come back, I think he sees this as a challenge to pick up his career here in Australia.

“We-ve got a lot of similar-type midfielders at the club, good attacking runners, but we don-t really have a good defensive-type midfielder.

“Eric has a bit of size about him, he-s good in the air, he-s good at set-pieces.

“He fits in with the other midfielders we have, but he also provides something different.”

FACT FILE

Date of birth: 3 May 1986

Place of birth: Sydney, Australia

Height: 193cm

Weight: 87kg

Position: Defensive midfielder

Youth career: Northern Spirit, NSWIS

Senior career: 2003-04 - Northern Spirit, 2004 - Northern Tigers (NSW), 2004-06 - Parramatta Eagles (NSW), 2006-08 - Gretna (Scotland), 2008 - Stirling Albion (Scotland - loan), 2008-10 - Greenock Morton (Scotland)

National team: 2003 - Australia under-17