Phoenix sweep early season honours

The Wellington Phoenix have scooped all of the major accolades to start the new A-Leagues season.

Rylee Foster and Alex Paulsen have been voted the women’s and men’s players of the month for October and November, while Paul Temple and Giancarlo Italiano have won the respective coach of the month awards for October.

Foster has helped the Phoenix make their best start to a Liberty A-League season and beat nine other nominees for the women’s player of the month award.

The Canadian goalkeeper made 20 saves in five appearances in October and November, having been forced to sit out the third round match against Brisbane Roar due to injury, keeping a clean sheet in the second round win over Western Sydney Wanderers and making 20 saves.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 12: Rylee Foster (GK) of the Phoenix poses for a photo with fans after the A-League Women round four match between Wellington Phoenix and Western United at Jerry Collins Stadium, on November 12, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Masanori Udagawa/Getty Images)

Fellow ‘keeper Paulsen has also enjoyed a stunning start to the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League and he’s been recognised by being voted the men’s player of the month.

He too made five appearances in October and November, keeping two clean sheets and making 19 saves, most notably denying both Adam Taggart and Jamie Maclaren from the penalty spot to secure the Nix wins over Perth Glory and Melbourne City.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – OCTOBER 28: Alexander Paulsen of the Phoenix saves a goal from a direct penalty during the A-League Men round two match between Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory at Sky Stadium, on October 28, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Andy Jackson/Getty Images)

Temple and Italiano were both one of four nominees for the women’s and men’s coach of the month awards, which covered matches played in October and the first weekend of November.

Temple guided Wellington’s women to two wins from three A-League matches, with the team scoring five goals and conceding just two.

After a narrow opening round defeat to Melbourne City, the Phoenix bounced back to beat Western Sydney Wanderers 3-0 before returning home to beat the inform Brisbane Roar 2-1.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – OCTOBER 11: Daisy Brazendale and coach Paul Temple enjoy a laugh during a Wellington Phoenix A-League Women media opportunity at NZCIS on October 11, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Italiano, who has yet to suffer a defeat as an A-League head coach, guided the men to two wins and a draw in their first three matches, with the team scoring seven goals and conceding just three.

The Nix earned a hard-fought draw in their opening match at Western Sydney before recording home victories over Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar.

BALLARAT, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 02: Giancarlo Italiano, Coach of the Phoenix greets fans after the match during the A-League Men round six match between Western United and Wellington Phoenix at Mars Stadium, on December 02, 2023, in Ballarat, Australia. (Photo by Martin Keep/Getty Images)

Thank you Wellington Phoenix fans for voting for Rylee, Alex, Paul and Giancarlo to make sure all of their hard work is recognised.

You can see them all in action in the Weekend of Football. Get your tickets here.

Main photo: Cam McIntosh/Photomac.