“Have boots, will travel” has always been the mantra All Whites striker Shane Smeltz has lived by and he has opened another chapter in his glittering career with a move to Indonesian club Pusamania Borneo FC where he will be the marquee player.
Smeltz’s much travelled professional career began at the Wellington Phoenix when the club was formed and he returned to the Hyundai A-League club earlier this season.
Between times the prolific goal scorer appeared in the colours of Gold Coast United, Shandong Luneng (China), Genclerbirligi SK (Turkey), Perth Glory, Sydney FC, Kedah FA (Malaysia).
Smeltz was on a short-term contract with the Phoenix and once the chances of making the playoffs disappeared on Saturday night he asked to be released and flew home to Australia on Sunday afternoon before heading to his new adventure.
“The opportunity has happened quickly as can happen in football,” Smeltz said.
“I was totally focused on the Phoenix and had we made the playoffs I would have stayed till we finished playing.
“At my age (35) I can’t afford to slow down and with the All Whites’ World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup on the horizon I need to keep the good level of fitness I have built up at the Phoenix.
“I have spoken to Anthony Hudson and he is happy with what I am doing.”
Phoenix coach Des Buckingham described Smeltz as a true professional who was a pleasure to work with.
“Shane arrived at a time when we were at the bottom of the table and struggling,” Buckingham said.
“From the moment he arrived he applied himself as a top professional on and off the field and has been part of the much improved performances in the second half of the season.
“I wish him all the best in his new venture which I’m sure will be successful.”
Smeltz leaves Wellington as the club’s all-time third highest goalscorer, with 24 goals in 51 appearances for the club. He departs as the A-League’s all-time second top goalscorer, with 92 goals in 190 appearances.