Smeltz signs with Gold Coast

The Wellington Phoenix's failure to sign Shane Smeltz to a long-term deal after a stellar debut season has led to his signing of a three-year contract to Gold Coast United.

The Wellington Phoenix's failure to sign Shane Smeltz to a long-term deal after a stellar debut season has led to his signing of a three-year contract to Gold Coast United.

Smeltz rose to prominence in the Phoenix's inaugural Hyundai A-League season, although was only re-signed for one year which opened up offers from other Australian clubs.

After months of conjecture, the All Whites striker's future is now secured for the next three years in moving to the Gold Coast - the Hyundai A-League's newest expansion club.

"It's good to finally have a decision and put an end to all the rumours," Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata said.

"The club is bigger than any one individual and we're already back in the market looking for new strikers - that's something that we've been doing for the past few weeks."

"Players joining and leaving clubs is part of football. Every club across the league gains and loses players and we're no different."

"We worked hard to get Shane to recommit to the Phoenix but at the end of the day his decision was based around what he felt was right for his young family. It wasn't a question of money."

"Our offer was as good - if not better - than what Gold Coast offered but Shane ultimately decided he wanted to return to the place where he grew up and he'll depart at the end of the season with the best wishes of everyone involved at the club."

With a decision on Smeltz's future finally made, Pignata said he could finally concentrate on resurrecting the bottom-placed Phoenix's season.

"I know it's been playing on his mind and that's probably been reflected in some of his performances in recent times."

"Shane's still got 11 games left for the Phoenix and we expect him to play better than he has done in the past few weeks."

"Hopefully now that he's made his decision and commitment his full focus will be on turning in top performances for the Phoenix."