Soccer: Brockie goal rush excites Phoenix

Jeremy Brockie (left) has been unstoppable in netting 18 goals for the Phoenix in warm-up games. Photo / Getty Images.
Jeremy Brockie (left) has been unstoppable in netting 18 goals for the Phoenix in warm-up games. Photo / Getty Images.

Wellington coach Ricki Herbert says the Phoenix need to score more goals if they are to become genuine A-League title contenders this season.

And he may have found just the man to solve the problem if new signing Jeremy Brockie's pre-season form is any guide.

The New Zealand striker, signed from Newcastle Jets in the off-season, has been unstoppable in netting 18 goals for the Phoenix in warm-up games.

And while many were against non-A-League opposition, the signs are strong to suggest Brockie can build further on the form he showed with the Jets last season when he netted nine goals.

Herbert is hoping that bodes well for a Phoenix side which has established itself as a consistent finals contender but returned 34 goals in 2011/12, the third lowest in the league.

"I think when you look at the sides like Perth last year, with (Shane) Smeltz scoring so many goals, and Brisbane and their goal tally, that's an area we need to be better collectively with," Herbert told AAP.

"Jeremy Brockie's been brought to the club and hopefully his form from last year continues and maybe we've got a little bit more prolific goal-scoring around the team."

Brockie, 24, failed to have a significant impact in stints with the now-defunct New Zealand Knights, North Queensland Fury and Sydney FC.

However Herbert, who coaches the striker at international level with New Zealand, is not surprised by his improvement and hinted he would be given plenty of time to prove himself this season.

"I think the potential has been there," Herbert said.

" ... I think stability with Jeremy is an important key and he's training the house down at the moment.

"The timing of what he's doing has been very encouraging and I think he'll be a real threat this year."

The Phoenix open their season at home to Sydney FC on Saturday with star Sky Blues signing Alessandro Del Piero expected to make his debut.

Herbert hinted he would take a cautious approach with his biggest attacking weapon, Paul Ifill, with the veteran midfielder still working his way back from knee and ankle injuries.

"If I need to start him I could start him but I'm not sure he's had the miles under his belt yet to kick off and have a real impact in the league," Herbert said.

-AAP

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