Wellington Phoenix stand-in captain Ben Sigmund was happy to have claimed a point from the 1-1 Hyundai A-League draw with Brisbane Roar.
Wellington Phoenix stand-in captain Ben Sigmund was happy to have claimed a point from the 1-1 Hyundai A-League draw with Brisbane Roar given how much football he and his New Zealand teammates have played during the past eight days.
The 31-year-old central defender and left-back Tony Lochhead have notched up 270 minutes of football in that period, including back-to-back, home-and-away World Cup qualifiers against Tahiti, while fellow All Whites Jeremy Brockie and Leo Bertos have also had substantial time on the park.
Only international goalkeeper Mark Paston was fresh for Sunday's match at Westpac Stadium after he missed the Tahiti matches with a foot infection and it was fortunate for Wellington he was, as the stopper made some crucial saves late in the first half to ensure spoils were shared.
Belgian striker Stein Huysegems gave the Phoenix the lead 16 minutes into the match but the Roar eventually equalised six minutes before half-time with a well-taken goal by Besart Berisha.
"The New Zealand boys who have played all those international games, it certainly takes its toll when you've got to play midweek as well as the weekend," said stand-in captain Sigmund.
"We probably could have gone two or three up in the first half. But they came back pretty well I thought.
"With 15 minutes to go I was that buggered I was happy with a draw to be honest," Sigmund added.
"I think we went out there and stuck it to them a bit. We probably sat off a little later. It's probably my fault for the goal. I got dragged out of my position a little bit. But overall I think you'd be happy."
Coach Ricki Herbert admitted fatigue was always going to be a concern, especially against a team such as Brisbane Roar that likes to open up sides with a fluent passing game.
"The game ebbed and flowed a wee bit. We had chances and they had some," said Herbert.
"We probably didn't finish too badly, which was perhaps more of a surprise for me.
"They will hurt you. They are a good enough side to really put you to the sword. We ground it out and it's a decent point over a very good side."