Brockie's form a bright spot
What a difference a morning makes.
When The Southland Times' Dunedin-based community newspaper D Scene gives ace Phoenix striker Jeremy Brockie his morning wake-up call, he is gathering his gear for football training under head coach Ricki Herbert.
By 11am, Herbert's resignation as Phoenix coach has been announced.
It is the latest drama in a turbulent season for the Wellington-based A League franchise.
After beginning with high hopes and great promise, the Phoenix have slipped to last place and are in real danger of missing out on playoff football for the first time in four seasons.
Along the way, they have copped some fearful hammerings.
One bright spot though, has been the form of Jeremy Brockie.
With 12 goals he sits atop the A League scoring charts, and has reason to be pleased with his own contribution this season.
"I had my breakout season last season with the Newcastle Jets, scoring nine goals.
"The one thing I wanted to do when I came to Wellington was for it not to be a one-off season in terms of hitting the back of the net, " he said.
"I worked hard in pre-season to make sure I had my body right and focused on my strength to make sure I could back up last season. It has been pretty good so far with 12 goals, and hopefully I can add to that for the rest of the season and help the boys out as we aim for that final playoffs spot."
For the Phoenix, their trip to Dunedin comes at the end of a make or break week.
After drawing 2-2 with Adelaide on Sunday - a game in which Brockie scored - the Phoenix play Newcastle in Wellington tonight and Melbourne Heart at the Stadium on Sunday.
"Our season pretty much depends on the results we get in these three games, really, " Brockie said.
"We would need to get seven points minimum from these games.
"It was a good point to get on Sunday, so we will be keen to get the win over Newcastle and have some momentum built so we can come and get the three points in Dunedin.
"I was watching the Highlanders and the Warriors games on the TV over the weekend and the stadium looks awesome; I can't wait to play there."
Getting some experience at the venue will be a boon for Brockie and the other All Whites in the Phoenix squad, as they will return to Dunedin shortly for a vital World Cup qualifying match against New Caledonia on March 22.
"It's great that we can bring the national team down to the bottom of the South Island and hopefully show them some good football, " Brockie said.
"I hope everyone embraces it and that we can come away with the three points and set ourselves up for the home and away playoff later this year [against a North American side for a World Cup berth]." Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Heart. Forsyth Barr Stadium, March 3, 4.30pm.
A festival of football will be held in the Octagon on Saturday, with fans and officials from Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Heart in attendance. A temporary football pitch will be set up on the Octagon lawn at 1pm. Otago United players will attend and Olly Bowman - football freestyler seen on New Zealand's Got Talent - will also put on a show.