Smeltz returns to Wellington Phoenix


Striker Shane Smeltz, who won the Golden Boot in his second season with Wellington Phoenix, is returning to the club where he began his Hyundai A-League career.

Smeltz, 35, has signed with the Phoenix for the rest of the 2016-2017 season and sees no reason why he can’t prove himself good enough to earn another contract for the following year.

“I feel younger than ever and can’t wait to get back to Wellington,” Smeltz said.

“I am physically in top shape as my stint in Malaysia showed.

“I played 18 games in three and a half months at a club that had no physio or doctor, scored 11 goals and played 90 minutes in every game.

“I am stronger than when I was at the Phoenix the last time.”

Smeltz said he was over the moon to be returning to Wellington.

“It is a decision I am comfortable with because I know the club and its environment and Dura and the boys,” he said.

“My wife Nikki knows how important this is to me and is giving me her full support.”

Smeltz said it felt amazing to be going back to where it began.

“I want to enjoy it and contribute as much as I can to the team.

“My intention is to be successful and the least I want is a top six finish.”

Throughout his A-League career with the Phoenix, Gold Coast United, Perth Glory and Sydney FC Smeltz has always worn the No. 9 shirt but that won’t be possible this time with Kosta Barbarouses already having claimed it.

Never one to be put off by a challenge Smeltz went for the 99 shirt and the FFA have agreed he can wear it.

“I started off at the Phoenix with No. 9 on my back and it is only fitting that I have two nines this time.

“I like the look of it. Ronaldo, the Brazilian, wore the 99 shirt at AC Milan towards the end of his career but this will be the first time in the A-League.”

Smeltz will train with the Phoenix for the first time on Tuesday.