Departing Wellington Phoenix striker Jeremy Brockie has completed a footballing fairy-tale, scoring two goals in his final match for the club.
Brockie heads soon to South Africa to take up a playing contract with SuperSport in Pretoria, but signed off with a brace in the Phoenix’s 3-0 win over the defending champion Brisbane Roar in Wellington.
“I’m very emotional”, admitted the popular striker afterwards.
“I think the idea scenario today would have been to get the three points first and then knock one in the back of the net to top it off. What a way to finish my career at the Phoenix.”
Brockie’s first goal came via the penalty spot, but he had to pull rank over Roly Bonevacia who was the assigned penalty-taker.
“I just grabbed the ball – there wasn’t much conversation. He had been practising them during the week, but he asked me if I wanted it and I wasn’t going to say no.”
The All Whites striker was in an understandably jovial mood afterwards, having taken his tally to 23 Phoenix goals in 58 matches, behind only Paul Ifill (33) and Tim Brown (24) on the all-time list of top scorers for the club. His run to the Yellow Fever after both goals showed just how much the fans mean to him.
“I’ve been practising short little sprints in the bathroom in front of the mirror hoping it was going to happen and luckily enough it did”, laughed Brockie.
Coach Ernie Merrick has overseen four straight wins for the Phoenix for just the second time in their 200-game history, but insisted afterwards points tallies don’t come into his thinking.
“I just don’t focus on those sorts of outcomes. It’s the way we’re playing. We probably could have scored a couple more. The defence were rock solid again and even without two of our strikers, we’ve got Manny (Muscat) scoring goals now! So it’s not just about points, it’s how we play”, said Merrick.
The Yellow Fever broke into chants of “We’re going to win the league” after the game, but Merrick refused to be drawn on whether he thought that was an achievable goal in just his second season in charge.
“The fans have got to be excited about having a go at (winning) the league for sure. The players can’t focus on that. We’re really going to focus on the things we can control – getting into the finals by playing a brand of football that works for us and getting into the box and scoring goals. Now it’s about staying in the (top) four and letting the fans get excited about where we could go, but we’ll be realistic.”
And Brockie admitted his thoughts will never be far away from the club he has served for the last two-and-a-half seasons.
“It’ll be hard, but I’ll be keeping in touch with the boys and watching every result. I’m just a Phoenix fan now. “