Wellington Phoenix have announced that kiwi defender Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi has re-signed with the club on a two-year contract.
I fully enjoyed the minutes I played last season and now with Steven (Taylor) gone I’ll be fighting for a starting spot at centre-back alongside our other quality players – that’s a goal I’ve set for myself.”
25-year-old Hudson-Wihongi enjoyed a solid year with the Phoenix during the 2019/20 season, in which he made 11 appearances including four starts.
All four of those starts came during the season re-start in August, and it was his defensive performances during these matches that caught the attention of fans and critics around the A-League.
Wellington Phoenix Head Coach, Ufuk Talay says that Hudson-Wihongi was given the opportunity to showcase his talent late last season and he did not disappoint.
“Te Atawhai was excellent for us during the season re-start; he was able to demonstrate his ability to impact the game defensively and to make good decisions on and off the ball.
“We’ll happy to have him back in the squad, and with [Steven] Taylor’s departure at centre back he’ll have even more opportunities next season to earn playing time.”
Hudson-Wihongi says that with a season with the Phoenix under his belt, he hopes to improve next season and be a solid contributor to the team.
“It feels great to re-sign with the Phoenix; it was a good season last year but obviously a disappointing way to end, but I’m hoping we can go back this year and push onto the Finals.
“I fully enjoyed my first season in the A-League and my goal next season is to play more; I fully enjoyed the minutes I played last season and now with Steven (Taylor) gone I’ll be fighting for a starting spot at centre-back alongside our other quality players – that’s a goal I’ve set for myself.”
Hudson-Wihongi says that the culture Coach Talay introduced to the Phoenix last season was a big reason why the squad ‘jelled together’ so well.
“We had a great team last season and he [Talay] drove that; he did a really good job at bringing in players that could not only play, but were good people – and that really helped us throughout the year, especially during the season re-start when the team was all living together.”