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Phoenix Prognosis: Week Three (Newcastle Jets)

phoenix prognosis

Welcome to the second edition of “Phoenix Prognosis”, where I take a look at some key (and some useless) points from the Phoenix’s weekend encounter. The 4-1 win over the Newcastle Jets brought up plenty of talking points, so let’s get straight into it.

Overreaction Theatre

What was that people were saying about the Round One loss to Perth again? A handy reminder not to visit Overreaction Theatre after such a small sample size.

Goals Galore

After posting the scoring rate of Michael McGlinchey last week, only fair to make another meaningless comparison again this week for the two Phoenix stars so far this season. Remember when goalscoring threats Vince Lia and Manny Muscat made up the core of the Phoenix midfield? Good times:

Nathan Burns and Michael McGlinchey – 6 goals in 6 games.

Vince Lia and Manny Muscat – 4 goals in 287 games.

The Phoenix’s Jekyll and Hyde duo

It wouldn’t be the Phoenix without a couple of players who draw vastly differing opinions from fans, and it looks to be Tom Doyle and (unsurprisingly) Jeremy Brockie this season.

Doyle has had moments of class this season, but has also been at fault for a few scary errors when he turns into Dom Toyle, such as the comical own goal last weekend and this short burst of inattentiveness yesterday.

doyle

Meanwhile, Brockie still seemingly has his haters and hardcore supporters, having some excellent spells of link-up to turn provider early on, yet still attracting criticism for a perceived low workrate and missing a chance off a McGlinchey cross.

(But I’m sure he’s well used to that by now).

Newcastle’s Defence Were As Honking As Their Strip

Although the Phoenix midfielders and wingers had some excellent vision and fired off some raking passes, they were given an abundance of space to do so, with the Jets really lacking a spine in the centre of the park.

How bad was the Jets defence? The Phoenix only had 39.2% possession, and played 200 less passes than Newcastle, yet still bundled four past them. (You know it isn’t your day when the Phoenix score from a set-piece against you).

Oh, and that Jets strip? Turrible, just turrible.

Westpac Stadium’s Influence On Crowd Perception

There has been a recent swath of opinion calling the Phoenix’s crowds poor. When you put them in context, they really aren’t that bad at all – with crowd numbers in the technology era falling across all sports, and Wellington’s population making for a tough comparison to some other A-League cities.

However, that perception could very well easily come from the cavernous Westpac Stadium, which makes all crowds below 15,000 look relatively small, and the SKY cameras, which are installed in places where the crowds tend not to flock to.

This isn’t the fault of Westpac Stadium, nor SKY, but it is one of the reasons why the casual onlooker may agree with the crowd size sentiments.

Quick thoughts:

  • The Phoenix continue to get quality shots at goal, shooting 8 of their 10 attempts from inside the box yesterday afternoon.
  • After proposing that Louis Fenton get a run at right back at some point in the season, he seemed to be at fault, at least partially, for the Jets’ unmarked goal. With Ernie Merrick seemingly keen to keep giving him some run in the last 20 or so minutes, we’ll see how he continues to hold up.

Next up? The Melbourne Victory on Monday night, so except this column to run on Tuesday next week. Until then.

Categories: A-League

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Niall Anderson

Hamilton raised, Niall Anderson now halves his time between university studies in Auckland and catching up on all things Waikato football in the Tron. Having covered Waikato FC and WaiBOP United in the ASB Premiership, Niall is also the lead writer at nzhoops.co.nz. Find him on Twitter @NiallGunner.

3 replies

  1. Great stuff Niall. I was at a cricket game for my team on Saturday. I can;t play due to a broken collar bone, but was scoring. While we were fielding I was sitting with the other team. They were avidly discusiing the last and upcomming rounds of the EPL, in some detail, and with some more sophisticated than average analysis and insight.

    After 10 – 15 minutes of this, with me wearing my hoopy and a Phoenix cap, I said; “You guys are obviously into football. Do you go to Phoenix games?” THe answered ranged from “No, not really” to “Yeah, occasionally – maybe 2 or 3 times a season.”

    I explained that there had been quite a bit of discussion amongsat the Yellow Fever about what would help get crowds along to the Phoenix. And I asked them, what was it that got in the way of them going?

    There reasons, in order were as follows:

    1. The stadium is WAY too big, and you are so far from the pitch. The Yellow Fever do their best to create a bit of atmosphere, but honestly, it is lost amongst the cavernous emptiness of the cake tin. It’s a crap venue for watching football. If only they had gone ahead with the Petone Rec. redevelopment I’d have been there every week.

    2. The food and beer at the stadium is awful, and way over priced. (I pointed out that they have recently massively improved this, and urged them to give it another go, and they said that was great news, and that they would.)

    3. The Yellow Fever desperately need some new chants. I told them they were in luck, that in the off season a big effort had gone into new chants, that there was a new dedicated Chants section on the Yellow Fever website, including YouTube videos of the chants, with lyrics, and the new chants available in the new Yellow Fever app. They said they would check that out too.

    I thought it was interesting that they didn’t even hint at anything to do with results, quality of the A League, or quality of the Nix team, which seems to have been the conventional wisdom amongst the invested fans as the things most likely to affect whether the marginal football fan would attend or not.

  2. ​Interesting. The first one I definitely understand and can see why it would be off-putting, but the second and third responses are intriguing.

    I’ve never found myself needing to buy food from a stadium, partly because they’re always ridiculously expensive, but for that to be a reason people don’t go is odd in my book. It’s not like the game is the length of a baseball or NFL game – why not smuggle some snacks in to see out the 2 hours if you know you’ll be that hungry? (Uh, not that I’ve ever done that…..)

    As for the third, part of their reason for not going is because of repetitive chants? Even if you don’t like chanting, surely it beats a whole lot of nothingness.

    I guess its probably just a small subset of fans who have similar reasons but still, got my attention.

  3. It’s always a bit wearying to hear comments like “If [insert complaint here] was better I’d be there every week.” Would they really? In my experience people like this are just shopping for excuses for not getting up off their couches. So disappointing that people (especially football fans) don’t support such a great thing for such silly reasons. Quit your excuses and use it or lose it Wellingtonians!

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