Soccer: Wanderers clash chance for Brockie to break drought

By Daniel Richardson

A couple of Jeremy Brockie's shots for the Phoenix are 'miss of the season' contenders. Photo / APN
A couple of Jeremy Brockie's shots for the Phoenix are 'miss of the season' contenders. Photo / APN

Wellington Phoenix striker Jeremy Brockie hasn't scored a goal in nine games of soccer, which is a lengthy drought based on the standards he set in the capital last season.

In 24 games Brockie found the net 16 times last summer but his lean trot has been magnified this year because it has coincided with Wellington's recent lack of goals; although they have managed to win their past two games in close circumstances.

Matters have been troubled further for the Phoenix with the loss of Paul Ifill for the season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon and confirmation yesterday that midfielder Carlos Hernandez is out for six weeks with a fractured wrist.

At nearly any other A-League club Brockie might find himself out of the match-day squad but the Phoenix are decidedly thin up front, so Wellington coach Ernie Merrick has persisted with the struggling All White.

Brockie failed to take his chances against the Melbourne Heart last Friday. Fellow striker Stein Huysegems found his second winner for Wellington in as many weeks as the Phoenix squeezed past the Heart 1-0.

One man who can relate to Brockie's frustration is Phoenix assistant coach Chris Greenacre, who played as a striker in 500 professional matches and experienced his own goal droughts. Greenacre said he had spoken to Brockie and didn't believe his confidence had been shaken in recent weeks.

"It's just good for him to keep making those runs and he is great that he doesn't get bogged down with what's going on in the media and all that kind of stuff," Greenacre said.

"He focuses on, firstly, playing well and working hard for the team and if he does that and continues to make those runs, the ball will come and it won't be long before he starts scoring again. The goal he gets, it may go in off his backside or whatever, and it's all kind of forgotten. So he's just got to maintain being the focused professional that he is and I'm sure the goals will come."

Brockie's current state of form has been made to look worse given the manner in which he has missed his opportunities.

Since he last found the back of the net - against Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on November 4 - he has played two internationals for the All Whites and seven games for the Phoenix without any joy.

In that stretch he had a penalty saved at Westpac Stadium in the World Cup qualifier against Mexico and then offered two contenders for "miss of the season" in Phoenix colours.

While it looks like doom and gloom, there is some good news for Brockie and the Phoenix.

Wellington meet the Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium in Parramatta tonight and the Wanderers are a team that Brockie loves to play. In four career outings against the Tony Popovic-coached side Brockie, 26, has scored three times, including an equalising effort during a 1-1 draw against the Wanderers in round two in October.

The Wanderers have added Michael Beauchamp, Tomi Juric and Shinji Ono to their squad from the side who drew 1-1 with Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

- APNZ

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