All Black helps Phoenix A-League semi win


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    A few words of pre-match wisdom from All Blacks centre and Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith played a key part in Wellington Phoenix’s 3-2 elimination semi-final A-League win over Sydney FC on Friday.

    Captain for the day, Tim Brown said Smith’s advice had been brief and to the point.

    “He spoke about not letting emotions get to you too much, just sticking to your plan and ticking over and doing what you do really well,” Brown said.

    “I think it was pretty important advice for tonight.”

    In what Brown described as a typically-ugly Phoenix win, Wellington rode a rollercoaster before an 85th-minute Paul Ifill penalty saw them home.

    All five goals came in the second half, with the last four in a hectic eight-minute period late in the spell.

    Ahead 2-0 through Brown and Ben Sigmund with just over 10 minutes remaining, the Phoenix had to survive a spirited Sydney comeback after striker Joel Chianese levelled the scores with two goals in as many minutes.

    Brown says Smith’s talk had been a special moment: “He said to say if we won, it was all down to his speech” – and the Phoenix had been wary of losing control in the all-or-nothing playoff.

    “I think the danger would have been to get too emotional about it, too caught up in the moment. I tried pretty hard not to do that and, as a group, we tried hard not to do that.”

    Brown’s efforts to keep his emotions in check almost came undone early, as regular skipper Andrew Durante handed him the captain’s armband just moments before kickoff.

    Earlier in the week, Brown had announced he would retire from all football once the Phoenix’s A-League campaign ends.

    After 110 games for the Phoenix, and 30 for the All Whites, Brown is returning to his studies after the opportunity to complete a masters degree in management at either the London School of Economics or Cambridge University proved too tempting to pass up.

    “Just a few moments before the game, Dura came up and presented that to me … I tried to give it back to him a couple of times, but he wouldn’t take it.

    “The emotions were pretty much in check up to that point, but I had to walk away and compose myself a wee bit.”

    The Phoenix continue their play-off run against the winner of the Melbourne Heart-Perth Glory game in Perth on Sunday, with the possibility of another home match if the Heart score an upset win.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • March 31st 2012 @ 9:00am
      pete4 said | March 31st 2012 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      Heard a stat this morning…. Wellington has beaten Sydney in all 4 meetings this season. First time it’s happened in HAL history (that 1 team has beaten another 4 times in single season apparently)

      • Roar Guru

        March 31st 2012 @ 9:28am
        The Cattery said | March 31st 2012 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        I’m pretty sure in season 4 the victory beat Adelaide at least five times on the way to winning the double.

        • March 31st 2012 @ 2:09pm
          Axelv said | March 31st 2012 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

          Yeah it was 6 times, Lol

          Talk about them giving Victory both the Premiership and Championship for free!

          Premiership ended with both teams being on 38 points and equal goal difference, it was more goals scored that meant Victory won. Had Adelaide won all 3 season matches, they would have had an 18 point lead on the Victory.

    • March 31st 2012 @ 9:22am
      Roger said | March 31st 2012 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Awesome game as a “neutral”!

      Congrats to Phoenix.

      • Roar Guru

        March 31st 2012 @ 9:29am
        The Cattery said | March 31st 2012 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        Just listening to Lavicka on Fox sports news, and he refers to a crazy 10 minute period when 4 goals were scored, it was a bit crazy, but it certainly made things very interesting, good to watch.

    • March 31st 2012 @ 10:17am
      Emric said | March 31st 2012 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Go the phoenix – heard there was 11,000 at the game that’s not too shabby

      • Roar Guru

        March 31st 2012 @ 11:04am
        Atawhai Drive said | March 31st 2012 @ 11:04am | ! Report

        The crowd was 10,019 and that’s pathetic for a finals match.

        The game had some exciting moments when the goals flowed, but the first half was dire.

        Where was Brett Emerton? Was he carrying an injury?

        • March 31st 2012 @ 6:43pm
          Emric said | March 31st 2012 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

          Not for Wellington,nor the A-League. The Hurricanes have only averaged 13,215 for their home games so far this season with todays game only having 11,783 show up.

          So when you put it back into perspective 10,019 isn’t so bad

          • April 1st 2012 @ 1:14pm
            Katipo said | April 1st 2012 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

            Remember NZ has a smaller population than Sydney spread across land mass the size of UK. They can’t support big crowds at every match like AFL can in Australia.

            I expected to see 20,000 at a finals match though. Come on Wellington.

    • March 31st 2012 @ 10:27am
      hog said | March 31st 2012 @ 10:27am | ! Report

      Pheonix A league champs and Hurricanes Super 15 champs, I’ll go for that.

      • April 1st 2012 @ 2:42pm
        Ballymore said | April 1st 2012 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

        Two brilliant games at the Cake Tin in 24 hours (even if the second didn’t go your way).

    • March 31st 2012 @ 12:43pm
      Bondy said | March 31st 2012 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

      It was a shocking first half and Sydney couldn’t capitilize on their territorial dominance and most of the second half as well or as long as the goals started .I cant understand Sydney F.C. looked more likely to score a goal just after they conceed one(backward), good luck to the Nix.

      A nice touch with the All Black Smith “with a few words of wisdom ” .

    • March 31st 2012 @ 1:21pm
      striker said | March 31st 2012 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

      Sydeny need a massive change with the likes of Mcflynn and co, they were terrible in the second half, emerton was bad but even good players struggle with crap players around you, time for the broom.

      • March 31st 2012 @ 2:11pm
        Axelv said | March 31st 2012 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

        But but, according to Craig Foster the players are never at fault, it’s always the coaches fault!

        • March 31st 2012 @ 2:15pm
          Midfielder said | March 31st 2012 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

          Except when his agenda changes…

          • March 31st 2012 @ 6:14pm
            Ross said | March 31st 2012 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

            well said midfielder hehehe