Not a peep from Phoenix hierarchy after loss

19:10, Jan 21 2013
Phoenix vs Sydney FC
Terry Antonis of Sydney FC and Louis Fenton of the Phoenix compete fort he ball.
Phoenix vs Sydney FC
Stein Huysegems of the Phoenix headers the ball past Adam Griffiths of Sydney.
Phoenix vs Sydney FC
Sydney's Alessandro Del Piero during the A-League football match between Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC.
Phoenix vs Sydney FC
Sydney's Alessandro Del Piero during the A-League football match between Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC.
Photos: Phoenix vs Sydney FC
Wellington Phoenix's Stein Huysegems celebrates after scoring a goal.
Phoenix vs Heart
Phoenix goalkeeper Jacob Spoonley kicks the ball back into play during the round two A-League match between the Melbourne Heart and the Wellington Phoenix.
Phoenix vs Heart
Heart goalkeeper Clint Bolton takes the ball during the round two A-League match between the Melbourne Heart and the Wellington Phoenix.
Phoenix vs Heart
Paul Ifill of the Phoenix celebrates with his teammates after he converted a penalty.
Phoenix vs Heart
Manny Muscat of the Phoenix challenges Mate Dugandzic of the Heart.
Paul Ifill
Paul Ifill tussles with Mitch Nichols of the Brisbane Roar.
Nixie
Wellington Pheonix mascot Nixie entertains the crowd before the Brisbane Roar game.
Manny Muscat
Mitch Nichols (left) and Manny Muscat compete for the ball.
Steyn Huysegems
Steyn Huysegems celebrates scoring the opening goal for the Phoenix against Brisbane Roar.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Leo Bertos (L) of Wellington competes with Iain Ramsay of Adelaide.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Ben Sigmund of Wellington gets away from Jeronimo Neumann of Adelaide.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Louis Fenton of Wellington competes with Cassio of Adelaide.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Paul Ifill of Wellington tackles Central Coast's Tomas Rogic.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
A stoush during the second half when Manny Muscat of Wellington was handed a yellow card.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Louis Fenton of Wellignton takes a tumble.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Wellington Phoenix's Alex Smith goes for a header.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Wellington Phoenix's Tyler Boyd and Central Coast Mariners' Joshua Rose.
Phoenix
Paul Ifill battles for possession with Diogo Ferreira of the Melbourne Victory.
Phoenix
Jeremy Brockie is tackled by Diogo Ferreira during the Phoenix's loss to the Victory.
Phoenix
Jonathan Bru of the Victory contests with Vince Lia and Tyler Boyd of the Phoenix.
Phoenix
Adama Traore of the Victory and Stein Huysegems of the Phoenix contest for the ball.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Emile Heskey of the Jets and Ben Sigmund of the Phoenix contest the ball.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Ryan Griffiths of the Jets and Andrew Durante of the Phoenix fight for control.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Benjamin Totori of the Phoenix.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Ben Sigmund of the Phoenix in action.
Phoenix vs Adelaide
Tyler Boyd of the Phoenix and Scott Neville of the Jets go after the high ball.
Phoenix vs Glory
Shane Smeltz of the Glory and Andrew Durante of Wellington contest possession.
Phoenix vs Glory
Jacob Burns of the Glory tackles Louis Fenton of Wellington.
Phoenix vs Glory
Paul Ifill of Wellington in action against the Perth Glory.
Phoenix vs Glory
Ben Sigmund of Wellington and Chris Harold of Perth contest possession.
Phoenix vs Glory
Jeremy Brockie of the Phoenix celebrates after scoring against Western Sydney.
Phoenix vs Glory
Alexander Smith of the Phoenix in action with Dino Kresinger of the Wanderers.
Phoenix vs Glory
Alexander Smith of the Phoenix in action.
Phoenix vs Glory
Stein Huysegems of the Phoenix in action.
Phoenix vs Glory
Paul Ifill of the Phoenix and Jerome Polenz of the Wanderers go for the ball.
Phoenix vs Glory
Louis Fenton of the Phoenix and Nikolai Topor-Stanley of the Wanderers in action.
Phoenix vs Glory
Jeremy Brockie of the Phoenix scores.
Phoenix vs Glory
Jeremy Brockie of the Phoenix in action.
sdfBen Sigmund
Terry McFlynn (left) of Sydney fights for possession with Ben Sigmund (centre) and Tyler Boyd of the Phoenix.
Alex Smith
Alex Smith on the ball for the Phoenix.
Phoenix
Sydney FC celebrate scoring against the Phoenix.
Phoenix fans
Phoenix fans show their support during the game against Sydney.
Wellington Phoenix vs Adelaide United
Louis Fenton of Pheonix and Osama Malik of Adeleide contest for the ball.
Wellington Phoenix vs Adelaide United
Bruce Djite of Adelaide is challenged by Andrew Durante of Phoenix during the round 11 A-League match between Adelaide United and the Wellington Phoenix.
Wellington Phoenix vs Adelaide United
Stein Huysegems of the Phoenix goes for a header under pressure from Osama Malik of Adelaide.
Wellington Phoenix
Manny Muscat challenges Cassio of Adelaide.
Wellington Phoenix vs Adelaide United
Paul Ifill of Phoneix is challenged by Fabio Ferreira of Adelaide during the match between Adelaide United and the Wellington Phoenix.
Phoenix v Mariners
Tyler Boyd in action for the Phoenix in their 1-1 draw with the Mariners.
Phoenix v Mariners
Jeremy Brockie takes a tumble during the match against Central Coast Mariners.
Phoenix v Mariners
Ben Sigmund gets up in the air to challenge for the ball during the 1-1 draw with the Mariners.
Phoenix v Mariners
Louis Fenton is held back by Josh Rose of the Mariners.
Phoenix v Mariners
Dani Sanchez is congratulated by teammates Andrew Durante and Alexander Smith after scoring the equaliser against the Mariners.
Phoenix vs Victory
Stein Huysegems of the Wellington Phoenix talks to the referee who gave teamate Louis Fenton a yellow card for faking a dive.
Phoenix vs Victory
Billy Celeski of the Victory and Daniel Sanchez of the Phoenix compete for the ball.
Phoenix vs Victory
Nick Ansell of the Melbourne Victory jumps on Stein Huysegems of the Wellington Phoenix.
Phoenix vs West Sydney
Jeremy Brockie with the ball agaisnt Western Sydney.
Phoenix vs Western Sydney
Daniel Sanchez attempts to make a break agaisnt Western Sydney.
Stein Huysegems misses a goal against Western Sydney.
Stein Huysegems misses a goal against Western Sydney.
Louis Fenton playing against Western Sydney.
Louis Fenton playing against Western Sydney.
Phoenix v Sydney FC
Andrew Durante reacts to conceding a penalty against Sydney FC.
Phoenix v Sydney FC
Alessandro Del Piero celebrates one of his four goals against the Phoenix.
Phoenix v Sydney FC
Alessandro Del Piero and Vince Lia compete for the ball.
Phoenix v Sydney FC
Leo Bertos of the Phoenix reacts to a Sydney goal during the round 17.
Phoenix v Sydney FC
Fabio and Tyler Boyd compete for the ball during the Phoenix's 7-1 loss to Sydney FC.
Phoenix v Newcastle
Tyler Boyd and Jets' Jobe Wheelhouse compete for the ball during the 1-1 draw.
Phoenix v Newcastle
Louis Fenton celebrates his goal against the Jets with Daniel Sanchez.
Phoenix v Newcastle
Manny Muscat and Jets' Joshua Brillante compete for the ball.
Phoenix v Newcastle
Andrew Durante gets in the way of Jets player Ryan Griffiths.
Phoenix v Perth
Phoenix players celebrate Jeremy Brockie's goal against the Perth Glory.
Phoenix v Perth
Phoenix's Stein Huysegems and Perth's Steven McGarry contest the ball.
Phoenix v Perth
Phoenix fans show their support at Eden Park.
Phoenix v Perth
Isaka Cernak heads the ball from Perth's Liam Miller in the Phoenix's 1-0 win.
Wellington Phoenix
Louis Fenton goes up for a header against Central Coast Mariners.
Wellington Phoenix
Bernie Ibini (left) and Daniel McBreen celebrate a goal for Central Coast Mariners.
Wellington Phoenix
Bernie Ibini takes on the Phoenix's Ian Hogg.
Wellington Phoenix vs Adelaide
Corey Gameiro, left, and Jeremy Brockie celebrate Brockie's goal.
Wellington Phoenix vs Adelaide
Wellington’s Jeremy Brockie, left, and Antony Golec jump for the ball.
Wellington Phoenix vs Adelaide
Antony Golec of Adelaide runs with the ball.
Wellington Phoenix vs Adelaide
Leo Bertos runs with the ball.
Phoenix v Adelaide
Phoenix fans show their support for former coach Ricki Herbert.
Phoenix v Adelaide
Jeremy Brockie of the Phoenix shows his disappointment after a missed shot at goal.
Phoenix v Adelaide
Corey Gameiro of the Phoenix tackles Ruben Zadkovich of the Jets.
Phoenix v Adelaide
Ben Sigmund has words with the referee after the Phoenix's loss to Adelaide.
Phoenix v Adelaide
Sam Gallaway of the Jets and Paul Ifill of the Phoenix compete for the ball.
Phoenix vs Wanderders
Jeremy Brockie of the Phoenix celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Western Sydney.
Phoenix vs Wanderders
Jeremy Brockie (L) and Corey Gameiro (C) of the Phoenix celebrate after Brockie scored a goal.
Phoenix vs Wanderders
Adam D'Apuzzo of the Wanderers competes for the ball against Corey Gameiro of the Phoenix.
Phoenix vs Wanderders
Ben Sigmund of the Phoenix competes for the ball against Labinot Haliti of the Wanderers.
Wellington Phoenix
Wellington Phoenix players celebrate after scoring against Perth Glory.
Wellington Phoenix
Travelling Wellington Phoenix fans celebrate during the win over Perth Glory.
Wellington Phoenix
Leo Bertos (left) competes for the ball with Joshua Risdon of Perth Glory.

What did the Wellington Phoenix's ownership group make of the team coughing up the worst result in their history?

How safe is Ricki Herbert's job? These questions and more went unanswered yesterday.

Neither outspoken part-owner Gareth Morgan, nor club chairman Rob Morrison could be contacted, in the wake of Saturday night's 7-1 flogging at the hands of Sydney FC.

The team, minus captain Andrew Durante, arrived home yesterday, but no-one was available by phone.

But it's not really the playing and coaching staff that have questions to answer. It's the folk from Welnix who probably have one or two things to explain to increasingly bewildered fans.

The team they knew and loved has changed and definitely not for the better. The much talked about overhaul of the playing style has been a spectacular failure and seems highly unlikely to yield the increased crowds the owners felt would flock to total football.

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Despite recent quotes to the contrary by some players, a team spokesman said last night that there was no confusion within the coaching or playing staff about the type football that's now required.

He instead referred The Dominion Post to coach Ricki Herbert's comment that the performance against Sydney was "totally unacceptable at both ends of the pitch".

It was. But why?

The midfield went missing in action, leaving central defenders Andrew Durante and Ben Sigmund over-run by Sydney players and goalkeeper Mark Paston grasping at thin air on more occasions than he'd probably care to remember.

It was Sydney's biggest win, the Phoenix's heaviest defeat and a shock result, given Sydney had been sitting just a point above the last-placed Phoenix.

Sydney's finishing was clinical, giving Paston no opportunity to make a save. Their marquee man, Alessandro Del Piero, has been a star on the world stage for close to two decades and you could see why.

His vision and passing ability was a joy to behold, but paled in comparison with his finishing. His four goals, including one from the penalty spot, were all expertly-taken, flying unerringly into the top corners of Paston's net.

But the result, and the Phoenix's performance, have to be a symptom of the directive to change the club's tried and true playing methods.

No matter what anyone says, Herbert and his players look a shadow of their former selves, unsure of how to play and what to say.

The end of the Terry Serepisos era was supposed to bring stability to the club. It was said the team would be able to concentrate entirely on football, safe in the knowledge that Welnix would unobtrusively take care of everything else.

By their own admission Welnix were business, not football, people.

They just wanted to keep the club afloat and in Wellington and leave the football to the experts.

Poor crowd figures caused a change to that policy and the club have been a confused entity ever since sexy football became a priority.

Speaking to reporters in Sydney, Herbert cast doubt on his future at the franchise by saying it was now in the owners' hands. Not long ago, his job looked one of the safest in professional coaching.

The Phoenix host the Newcastle Jets on Sunday and there will no doubt be an emphatic on-the-park response to what occurred in Sydney. That's just in Herbert's and the team's nature.

But their ability to do that would be greatly enhanced by having their owners publicly concede that a mid-season change of tack has only served to undermine everybody's confidence.

The Dominion Post