When Tim Brown was looking for a club where he could ply his trade as a professional footballer, the furthest thing from his mind was notching up a century of appearances in the Hyundai A-League.
Brown, 30, reaches the 100 games mark on Sunday against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium when he makes his 90th appearance for the Wellington Phoenix.
The first 10 games came in Newcastle Jets colours, and while Brown will always be thankful for the chance the New South Wales club gave him it is his time at the Phoenix which has given him the most pleasure.
“I am so proud to be part of the Phoenix with its Kiwi core,” Brown said as he prepared for training today.
“When I was looking for an opportunity to play professionally the Knights were in the A-League but they didn-t want to look at Kiwis.
“I had to go to Aussie to get a chance to show what I could do. When I signed for Newcastle people started to take notice.
“When the Phoenix began and Ricki [Herbert] called me I had already agreed to stay at Newcastle, but they kindly released me so I could go home to play.
“I-m so glad I came back to Wellington and the Phoenix. It has been a great experience.
“A lot of players have come and gone, but we have a really close group and every day is a fun day when you come to work. In such an environment the 100 game mark creeps up on you.”
Brown acknowledges that this season is proving a stern test of the Phoenix players- resolve, but is confident they will come through it.
“We are building something special here and a lot of good things are still to come,” he said.
“We-ve been on an upward curve. Last year was difficult but we still made the playoffs.
“This season is going to be even more challenging and we have to make sure our standards don-t drop.”
That will be especially important when they face the high-flying Roar on Sunday.
The Phoenix do not have a good record against Brisbane, winning one and drawing three of the 12 meetings between the clubs.
Brisbane, the defending champions, go into the game with a five-win, one draw record and the Wellington side will need to be at its best.
The Phoenix players were disappointed with their flat performance in the 2-1 home loss to the Central Coast Mariners last week and are determined to show that was a minor blip after four solid performances to start the season.
While they have only one win on the board, the losses to Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory were decidedly unlucky and they will be hoping the bounce of the ball goes their way at Suncorp.
Wellington Phoenix squad: Mark Paston, Tony Warner, Manny Muscat, Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante, Tony Lochhead, Leo Bertos, Tim Brown, Alex Smith, Daniel, Dani Sanchez, Chris Greenacre, Niko Tsattalios, Nicky Ward, Brent Griffiths.