Wellington Phoenix coach calls on players to take personal responsibility against Newcastle

Dylan Fox (right) and Ryan Lowry (left) will get their chance to impress for the Wellington Phoenix while team-mates ...
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Dylan Fox (right) and Ryan Lowry (left) will get their chance to impress for the Wellington Phoenix while team-mates such as Tom Doyle (centre) are away on international duty.

The Wellington Phoenix co-coaches can only do so much.

That was apparent against the Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend. Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham had drilled their squad in the leadup to the game on how they wanted to keep possession.

According to Greenacre, it took them 20 minutes to string six passes together.

Goalkeeper Glen Moss said after the game that certain players "just kind of do what they want and don't stick to the game-plan and it shows", which Greenacre partially agreed with.

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"All the things that are necessary to put your hallmark on the game we didn't do, didn't compete, I think it took us 20 minutes to string six passes together - we'd worked on possession pretty much most of the week.

"He [Moss] is right in a sense that the gameplan did go out the window, you can dress it up as much as you want, if you don't compete in the game and want to do the ugly side of the game throughout the team, you're not going to give yourself any chance whatsoever. There is no excuse about that, that's what happened."

With six All Whites and Fijian captain Roy Krishna away on international duty, the Phoenix had just 14 first-team players at training on Wednesday.

And that's the number they will have available on Sunday against the Newcastle Jets. 

"It is what it is," Greenacre said.

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"We've had 14 players out there and we've had to draw a line under the last performance and say this is it, this is us, we know what's at stake now and it is you guys.

"It's your responsibility, you're the players we've got available this weekend and collectively between all of us it's do or die."

So what do these players need to do to turn things around? 

Greenacre said it would start with having personal pride in their own performances and their contribution to the team.

"For all of us, you should be your biggest critic.

"There was no-one who put more pressure on themself than I did, that personal pressure means more than any coach, any media, anyone can put on you.

"You've got to really want to do it for yourself, and your team-mates and the club, that really has to happen. We're in dire straits if people don't want to do that."

For the likes of Logan Rogerson, Sarpreet Singh and James McGarry, it will be a rare chance to show their worth in the first-team, likely from the bench, although the latter of that trio was absent from training on Wednesday through illness.

For others like Dylan Fox, Ryan Lowry and Hamish Watson, it is the opportunity to push for a starting spot for the remaining three games of the season after Sunday. 

So the motivation should be there for most, whether or not the application comes with it is another story entirely.

Meanwhile, Jacob Tratt has not yet rejoined the squad after returning to Australia last week for personal reasons.

 - Stuff

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