Last week he was Big Dadi, this week he's Dadi Cool after thriving in chilly conditions as the Wellington Phoenix beat North Queensland 3-0 at a rain-lashed Westpac Stadium on Friday night.
Whatever the moniker, Eugene Dadi is adding something special to the Nix; so much so he's already spilt blood for the team, a clash of heads earning the big striker 15 stitches under his eyebrow and an early exit after his third goal in two matches since transferring from Perth Glory.
Coach Ricki Herbert said he may take some extra players to Perth for this Friday's match against the Glory, in case Dadi is not fit.
"Eugene is going to be a bit of an uncertainty all the way through to the match," Herbert said.
But, according to team-mate Paul Ifill, Dadi will make he sure he's ready. "The physios will monitor him this week and make a decision, but I've already spoken to him today and I'd be surprised if he doesn't play; he can't wait to get out there and play in Perth."
The Nix have won three matches on the trot and are now eyeing a home semifinal, with their recent form rush coinciding with the arrival of goalkeeper Liam Reddy from Brisbane, to cover for the injured Mark Paston, and Dadi's inspirational introduction as cover for the injured Chris Greenacre.
Ifill said the newcomers had made a real difference to the team, which has shaken off its habit of earning draws when wins were on offer.
"Sometimes just having a different face around the place, a different sort of personality, can change things," Ifill said. "I think this year the Phoenix have been excellent in their recruitment. It's not just about the ability, but about players' character as well, and with Liam and Eugene their contribution been just as much off the pitch as it on."
Ifill, the match-sealing second goal-scorer, said conditions in Wellington were among the worst he'd experienced: "It was cold, it was wet, it was horrible."
Once the Nix turned to play into the wind they found it easier to control the ball and the goals followed, sparked by Dadi finding the net for the third time in two games.
- Sunday Star Times
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