Soccer: Sigmund does some diving of his own

By Kris Shannon

Ben Sigmund is not one for self-pity so, instead of moping around home, he found a rather appropriate way to pass the time during his recent suspension. Photo / Getty Images.
Ben Sigmund is not one for self-pity so, instead of moping around home, he found a rather appropriate way to pass the time during his recent suspension. Photo / Getty Images.

Ben Sigmund is not one for self-pity so, instead of moping around home, he found a rather appropriate way to pass the time during his recent suspension.

Banned for the week after his role in the diving controversy which marred the Wellington Phoenix's loss to Adelaide a fortnight ago, Sigmund decided to do some diving of his own.

"I've been getting into diving with a couple of mates, so we went down and got some paua and crayfish," he said.

"Even though [the suspension] sucks, you've got to turn negatives into positives, and the positive of that was getting to see the family and obviously go diving."

Sigmund insisted the timing was purely coincidental but, after Adelaide striker Jeronimo Neumann had flung himself to the ground in a successful attempt to get the defender dismissed, it was easy to sense Sigmund's tongue planted firmly in his cheek.

"It's just what I do in my spare time," he said. "We were just sort of joking about it and having a bit of a laugh. If you don't laugh about it you might as well cry."

It's that attitude which has seen Sigmund survive what must have been a frustrating week off. Neumann was thought by many to be engaging what the football authorities call simulation when Sigmund was sent off, but Football Federation Australia deemed Sigmund's slight contact enough to uphold the red card and, due to regulations, it could not rule on Neumann's perceived indiscretion.

"The fact is that anyone who goes and watches that video will be able to tell you what happened," Sigmund said. "I don't really need to dwell on it because everyone can see what happened.

"We've just got to deal with it and move on and, hopefully, [the FFA] can sort it out so it doesn't happen again."

The FFA, Neumann and referee Matt Gillett were all in the firing line as Andrew Durante and Ricki Herbert voiced their views on the incident, and Sigmund appreciated the staunch support he received from his captain and coach.

"It's so blatantly obvious that you kind of had to support it. You slog your guts out every week and work so hard, and when things like that happen it is frustrating. No one likes to lose, we all hate losing, and that's when the frustration kicks in."

One upside to the suspension - aside from the chance to partake in his latest passion - saw Sigmund able to join Phoenix fans at a Wellington bar to watch his side's match against Melbourne Victory. He said that opportunity increased his appreciation for the support the team received while away from home.

"You get so caught up in the game when you're away, so it was nice to see what the fans do for you and you appreciate how supportive the fans are even when we're away."

As much as he did enjoy that experience, there's no doubting Sigmund is eager to end his spectator role when the Phoenix tackle Central Coast in Wellington on Sunday. The Mariners have an enviable record at the Ring of Fire, having won their last three games in a venue that is a graveyard for most visiting Australian sides, and they are coming off a stunning 7-2 win over Sydney.

"They've been a good team over the last couple of years," Sigmund said. "They put seven past Sydney but we've got to back ourselves, get our defence right and make sure we can stop them."

If they manage that, Sigmund may even treat his teammates to a post-game seafood spread to celebrate.

- APNZ

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