WOLLONGONG’S Brendon Santalab has been hailed as a special talent after lifting the Western Sydney Wanderers into the A-League’s top six.
Santalab netted a brace in the 3-1 win over the Phoenix at New Plymouth on Saturday.
The Mercury columnist now has eight goals for the season.
“Santa’s a special player,” coach Tony Popovic told Sky Sports NZ.
“He does what he does best and that’s score goals. And we hope that will continue.”
The 34-year-old in his second game back from a three-round suspension, opened the scoring on 21 minutes, before putting the Wanderers three goals ahead with his second in the 65th minute.
The Wanderers are now sixth on the A-League standings and in the finals places, on 21 points, with Newcastle one behind and the Phoenix on 19.
Arch-rivals Sydney FC sit on top with 13 wins for the season and still unbeaten. Western Sydney take on Central Coast at Spotless Stadium on Sunday afternoon.