Herbert rolls on

Ricki Herbert has arguably done more for New Zealand football in the past 12 months than any other person over the 100-year history of the game in the Shaky isles. But while getting Wellington to the finals of the Hyundai A-League is an historic achievement, Herbert will not be resting on his laurels.

Ricki Herbert has arguably done more for New Zealand football in the past 12 months than any other person over the 100-year history of the game in the Shaky isles. But while getting Wellington to the finals of the Hyundai A-League is an historic achievement, Herbert will not be resting on his laurels.

While the Phoenix have had their ups and downs over a three-year journey, Herbert was always confident that the team were heading in the right direction both on the field and off the field.

"We said it would take three years. For me, it-s been building a brand and I think we-ve done that. When you look at the club now, (with crowds of) 19,000 in Christchurch, 14,500 the other night. We'll probably get 20,000 on the weekend. For me that speaks volumes, I think we-ve done that extremely well," he said.

"We've gone eighth, sixth, fourth. I can never see us finishing bottom. I think we-ve taken the right time, with the right people to do it."

Herbert achieved the extraordinary in November when he guided the All Whites to the World Cup in South Africa, but in many ways, the performance of Wellington this year has been the pinnacle of his career.

"I couldn-t ask for anything more. To get the country back to a World Cup and make the playoffs for the Phoenix. It-s been an exciting year," he said.

"I'm really proud, because it-s something we built up from scratch. We aren-t like Gold Coast or Fury. We had three months to put a team together, so it-s taken us a little longer. But we are there now and I think quite rightly so," he said.

The Phoenix host Perth on Sunday at Westpac Stadium and given they have not lost a game there since October 2008, Herbert goes into the game with plenty of confidence.

"(The travel) has got to have some sort of factor but at the end of the day, they-ve got a very experienced team. We're tough at home and we're ready and we-ve got no injuries, we're really looking forward to it," he said.

But he knows the path to the Grand Final will be very difficult. Should Wellington get past Perth it will likely face successive away matches ahead of the decider.

"If you win the Grand Final from fourth, then it would be an amazing journey," he said.

However, given Herbert has made a habit of making amazing journeys in recent times, it would be foolish to write him and his in-form team off.