It's been a tough season for Wellington, but in Jeremy Brockie they might just have found their silver lining, with the All Whites's star chasing the Nike Golden Boot.
If there has been a silver lining to Wellington-s season it has been the form of Jeremy Brockie. The All Whites striker has been responsible for more than half of his side-s goals and now he is chasing his reward.
With just a handful of games to go Brockie (14 goals) is on a mission to chase down his good mate Daniel McBreen (15 goals) and claim the Nike Golden Boot; and if he does there is a very real chance he could be the competition-s leading goal-scorer as a part of the worst-performed team.
While that would make for an interesting footnote to league history and no doubt see his name featured in more than a few trivia night answers down the track, Brockie says he would trade a few of his goals for a chance at finals with the Phoenix in what has been a forgettable year for the New Zealand club.
“I was happy with all nine of my goals last season at Newcastle and I did a lot of work when I came here this year with Chris Greenacre,” Brockie said.
“To score 14 goals this season is great and I-m happy with that, though I would trade a few of those for a few more wins for the boys.
“It would be pretty strange to win the boot if we come last, I-m not sure it has happened in the history of the league, but having said that, we-re not dead last either, so it-s not a given and we-ll obviously be trying to avoid that.”
He might trade the goals for finals but the Kiwi is salivating at the prospect of pipping a good mate of his at the post and revealed that the text messages had been rapid-fire between he and Daniel McBreen, even suggesting the fact he is now taking penalties for the Phoenix is the reason McBreen has stepped back up to the spot for the Mariners.
“To be up there looking for the Golden Boot with a few games to go, one behind Daniel McBreen is great, hopefully I can knock him off,” Brockie said.
“We-re pretty good mates and the text messages have been flying think and fast between us. I-m letting him know I-m chasing him down and all our boys are on board with me chasing the boot. Paul Ifill has agreed to let me take penalties for the rest of the season, maybe that's why he felt the pressure on the last couple of penalties.”
To get the Golden Boot is his possession Brockie is going to have to help the Phoenix knock off some well-credentialed sides over the next few weeks starting with the seemingly unbeatable Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium.
Despite the Wanderers almost having double the points of the Phoenix, Brockie insists the players are confident going into the match and know they have absolutely nothing to lose.
“We are confident, we had a good win last week over Melbourne Heart and though it was only one goal it could have, probably should have been a case of us scoring more goals,” he said
“It felt like one of those games where maybe things weren-t going to go our way after the keeper made a few saes and we hit the woodwork and maybe that-s been symptomatic of the way this season has been going, but we scored first and that is important.
“I think when we do score first there aren-t too many games the Phoenix don-t win, a big part the problems we have had is we have been conceding goals early and then we have been chasing games, but since Chris Greenacre has taken over he-s just told us the pressure is off and to go out there and play like it.”
The pressure being off the playing group is one thing, executing against a Wanderers side who have won eight straight is another entirely, but Brockie is looking forward to the challenge and believes the key will be getting in behind towering defenders Michael Beauchamp and Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
“I-m really looking forward to it,” Brockie says. “I have been watching their matches on TV and the fans at Parramatta Stadium make it look like it has an amazing atmosphere, it would be great to go there and jag the three points.
“It won-t be easy, they are very defensively secure and Popa (Tony Popovic) has got them well-drilled. Given they have Topor-Stanley and Michael Beauchamp, who are two big defenders at the back I doubt we will get a lot of crosses in there, so we might have to try and get in behind them and score that way.”