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  • Dan Moskovitz

Phoenix Eye-Up Championship Win


If you asked any Wellington Phoenix Men fan if they’d take a second-place finish at the start of the season, they would have bitten your hand off. 

The Nix had lost three of their best players, their best-ever manager, and had barely recruited, instead choosing to trust in their academy.

Now after a season of breaking records, shocking the league, and spending 16 weeks at the top of the table, finishing second almost feels disappointing. 

But from November onwards the Central Coast Mariners, currently top of the league, only lost twice. Ultimately, the Phoenix just couldn’t keep up with their incessant march. CCM finished first on 55 points, just two ahead of Wellington’s 53. 

Still, plenty of positives. The Phoenix notched record numbers of wins, goals conceded, clean sheets, points, and their best-ever placing. All of this during head coach Giancarlo Italiano’s first season managing a professional football club.

The hunt for trophies, though, isn’t over yet. The playoffs are now underway, and by virtue of finishing top two the Phoenix are automatically through to the semi-finals, facing off against Melbourne Victory. 

At the time of publication the pair will have just completed the first leg of the two-legged semi-final across the ditch. The second leg will be back in Wellington, the first time the ‘Nix have hosted a playoff in nine years. 

The grand final will be hosted by the higher-placed team on the ladder—should CCM lose their semi and Wellington win theirs, the Grand Final will be in Wellington. 

The last time the Nix won a playoff game was in 2012.

The Wellington Phoenix play Melbourne Victory in the second leg of their home semi-final at 6.30pm on Saturday the 18th of May. Tickets can be purchased on Ticketek.


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