Dutch striker Maceo Rigters didn’t take long to announce himself to Wellington Phoenix fans at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin tonight.
Dutch striker Maceo Rigters didn-t take long to announce himself to Wellington Phoenix fans at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin tonight.
Less than 19 hours after completing a journey that took him 40 hours and saw him pass through London, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Auckland and Wellington Rigters, who is trialling, took the field as a second half substitute and soon had the Yellow Fever singing his name after scoring a well-taken goal.
Unfortunately that was one of few bright moments for the Phoenix as they went down 1-5 to last season-s Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar before a magnificent crowd of 15,037.
Despite the scoreline there were positives for Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert to take from the game, though he was particularly disappointed with the defensive lapses that cost his side dearly.
It didn-t help that the Phoenix conceded the first goal in the second minute of injury time, when only one minute had been signalled, and the second two minutes into the second spell before they had chance to settle. Till then they had more than held their own against the champions.
James Meyer netted the first and when captain Mitch Nichols got the second Wellington had no choice but to chase the game.
They conceded a third goal in the 57th minute when Thomas Broich curled in a lovely free kick and then came Rigters strike.
Put through on goal, Rigters sped away and smashed a shot past Roar keeper Michael Theoklitos.
At 1-3 down Herbert rang the changes with trialists Cory Chettleburgh, Spaniard Dani Sanchez and Brisbane Strikers Matt Thurtell getting opportunities to impress.
Broich added a fourth goal in the 72nd minute after a good run down the right by Meyer, and Meyer added the fifth in injury time after he beat the offside trap.
While disappointed with the result Herbert said the club was looking for players in the attacking third and this was an opportunity to see them in action.
Rigters certainly didn-t disappoint. While feeling the effects of such a long journey he threw himself into the action.
His first impressions of the Phoenix have been favourable.
“I-ve been here less than 24 hours and already feel at home,” Rigters said.
“The boys here really make you feel welcome.”
Herbert said the game had been important in that he needed to see the trialists in a game situation against decent opposition.
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Maceo Rigters 67m), Brisbane Roar 5 (James Meyer 47m, 91m; Thomas Broich 57m, 72m; Mitch Nichols 50m) HT: 0-1.
Crowd 15, 037.