Soccer: Brockie's blast sets the tone

By Terry Maddaford

All Whites 4
Waitakere 1

Waitakere United's Anthony Hobbs takes on All Whites striker Shane Smeltz in last night's match at Trusts Stadium. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Waitakere United's Anthony Hobbs takes on All Whites striker Shane Smeltz in last night's match at Trusts Stadium. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Four goals in a 17-minute burst immediately before and right after halftime underlined the difference between the two teams as the Australasian-based All Whites beat a Waitakere United Invitational XI at Trusts Stadium last night.

It was a meaningful workout for Ricki Herbert's team ahead of upcoming friendly internationals against Mexico, in the US, and Australia.

"I was pleasantly surprised with what the players showed," said Herbert, who hinted around five of the players from the match will be in his starting XI against Mexico.

"Overall it was probably around a 60 per cent effort, with some of the players higher than that.

"They are All Whites so they have to be good," said Herbert in reflecting on the overall effort.

From the start of this training game, both teams shook off any thought of simply going through the motions and turned in a meaningful exhibition.

The first half was a decent contest with the only goal the last act of the spell when Ben Sigmund headed home a Michael McGlinchey corner.

But after the break, the internationals stepped up a gear and needed just 16 minutes to stretch the lead to 4-0 with goals from Jeremy Brockie (a 30-metre screamer), Kosta Barbarouses and Tim Brown. The finishing was clinical, Waitakere's custodian Danny Robinson given no hope.

Down but not out, the locals continued to battle without ever matching their first-half effort. Late consolation came when Ant Hobbs got on the end of a free kick to sweep home beauty.

It was a decent workout for Herbert's team.

With Europe and US-based players to join the team in Denver on Saturday - and with some, including Winston Reid, Tommy Smith and Marco Rojas (laid low last night with a virus) likely to press for a place in the starting XI against Mexico on Thursday - Herbert has much to ponder.

"We wanted them to play 90 minutes and they pretty much did that," said Herbert. "Most of them haven't had much football lately. That's why we wanted the camp and this game."

Of Brockie's thunderbolt goal, Herbert said: "We will probably hear about that for a few days".

Herbert was also impressed with McGlinchey, especially playing in an unfamiliar role - on attack.

"Michael has a wonderful future," said Herbert.

While Mark Paston and Rojas took no part last night, both will travel, with Rojas likely to play against Mexico.

While Paston "is doing everything right" in recovering from his serious knee injury, Herbert suggested young Jake Gleeson is more likely to be Glen Moss' understudy.

Brown led the side last night and Herbert hinted he was likely to retain that role against Mexico and the Socceroos in Ryan Nelsen's absence.

- NZ Herald

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