Men farewell departing players

The Wellington Phoenix have farewelled eight men’s squad members following the team’s exit from the Isuzu UTE A-League finals.

In addition to the already announced departures of Oli Sail, Clayton Lewis and Steven Ugarkovic, centre backs Josh Laws and Nikko Boxall, fullbacks Callan Elliott and Lucas Mauragis and attacking midfielder Yan Sasse are also leaving the Phoenix.

Director of football Shaun Gill has thanked all of the departing players for their individual contributions to the club.

“We said our goodbyes as a team yesterday, a month earlier than we’d hoped,” Gill said.

“We would have loved to have sent all of our players off with an A-League title, but it wasn’t to be.

“Despite not claiming any silverware, they have all left a mark on the Phoenix in one way or another and are leaving the club in a better place than when they arrived.

“The players we’re farewelling have been model professionals throughout their time at the Phoenix and I wish them all the best for their footballing futures.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 07: Oliver Sail of the Phoenix celebrates saving a goal during the round 11 A-League Men’s match between Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix at Allianz Stadium on January 07, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

Oli Sail has been with the club for the best part of a decade and has gone on to play 79 A-League matches since cementing himself as the Nix’s first choice goalkeeper early in the 2020-21 season.

Midfielder Clayton Lewis played 63 A-League matches for his hometown club over the past three seasons, scoring three goals, including the team’s goal of the year against Macarthur FC in November.

Australian defender Josh Laws made his 50th and final A-League appearance for the Phoenix in the team’s round 26 win over Macarthur last month, having also joined the club at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

Right back Callan Elliot leaves the Nix after playing 47 league matches over the course of four seasons. Elliot scored his maiden A-League goal against Newcastle Jets in March.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – DECEMBER 17: Callan Elliot of the Phoenix controls the ball during the round eight A-League Men’s match between Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United at Sky Stadium, on December 17, 2022, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Masanori Udagawa/Getty Images)

Steven Ugarkovic played in all 27 of Wellington’s league matches this campaign, with the experienced Australian midfielder establishing himself as a popular member of the team since arriving in the capital in July.

Brazilian attacking midfielder Yan Sasse scored two goals and created three others in his 23 A-League appearances for the Phoenix, bouncing back from being sent off in his home debut.

Australian fullback Lucas Mauragis is returning to the Newcastle Jets after featuring 20 times for the Nix as a loan player.

And Nikko Boxall made three appearances for the club over the second half of the season, having arrived in Wellington in February as defensive cover.

Midfielder Nicholas Pennington is also coming off contract, but remains in discussions with the Phoenix.

The Wellington Phoenix have already contracted 12 players for the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League and plan to make their first off-season signing in the coming days.