Smeltz to go under the knife after horror tackle

All Whites striker Shane Smeltz will visit the plastic surgeon for the second time this year after splitting his forehead open in Friday night's World Cup qualifier in Dunedin. Photo / Twitter.
All Whites striker Shane Smeltz will visit the plastic surgeon for the second time this year after splitting his forehead open in Friday night's World Cup qualifier in Dunedin. Photo / Twitter.

All Whites striker Shane Smeltz will visit the plastic surgeon for the second time in the last 12 months after having his forehead split open in Friday night's World Cup qualifier against New Caledonia in Dunedin.

The Perth Glory front man went under the knife after splitting his face open in last season's A-League final and will be back in the doctor's chair tomorrow following a horror challenge from New Caledonian defender Joel Wakanumune.

In Smeltz's column for the Sydney Telegraph today, he said he is now carrying 15 stitches in his head and his most recent injury was "more bloody and more painful'' than last year's.

The decision of Australian referee Strebre Delovski to not allow a penalty for the challenge in the final minutes of the match was a controversial one, and replays showed it was a late, high, dangerous tackle which prevented Smeltz from a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

"The shock at Delovski's decision not to award a penalty or a red card for the terrible challenge has been widespread, so I won't use my column to rant and rave,'' Smeltz said.

"Ironically, A-League players voted a week ago on who we thought was the referee of the year and my vote went to Delovski.

"When my face was split open in the A-League grand final last season I thought it would be the only time in my career I would cop a freak injury like that.

"I've contacted the same Brisbane plastic surgeon who treated me last season and hope to see him tomorrow on my way home.''

Smeltz was one of eight players released by All Whites coach Ricki Herbert for New Zealand's final dead-rubber World Cup qualifier against the Solomon Islands in Honiara on Tuesday.

"I'll do everything I can to be available for Perth Glory's final regular season game against Adelaide United on Saturday night, but should know more in the coming days.''

-nzherald.co.nz

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