Wellington Phoenix played a bit of an intra-squad game in Rotura and drew 1-1 with a New Zealand A team. Ernie Merrick's Phoenix side featured the likes of Carlos Hernandez, Ben Sigmund and Stein Huysegems but also younsters like Hamish Watson, Reece Caira and Alex Rufer. Jeremy Brockie, Andrew Durante, Leo Bertos and Glen Moss all Wellington regulars, started for New Zealand.
The big news coming out of the match, apart from a nice combination between Hernandez and Huysegems which resulted in Wellington's goal, was the first half injury to 20-year-old Louis Fenton. In the 22nd minute, Fenton dislocated his right shoulder and will require at least a six- to eight-week recovery. The Phoenix already have strong forward options in Huysegems, Kenny Cunningham and Paul Ifill, not to mention scoring threats from midfield in Hernandez and Brockie. There are more questions at fullback, where Fenton has been playing more recently.
Said Merrick in a club press release:
"Obviously the downside was Louis' injury and he will be out for six to eight weeks providing he doesn't need surgery. If he does need an operation, it will be longer. That gives us something to think about. We seem to have good depth in midfield and up front but we have to look at the right back position.
"All credit to Justin Gulley who stepped up and didn't put a foot wrong. The good thing is that the likes of Hamish Watson, Tobias Bertsch and Justin have been training with us for three months and know exactly what is required of them. Louis went down, Justin stepped in and did the job exactly as I would have wanted."
Wellington have one more pre-season game ahead with a visit to Auckland City scheduled for Saturday September 28.
WPX Huysegems (Hernandez) 40'
NZA Clapham 49'
Wellington Phoenix: Spoonely (McPeake 82'); Muscat, Sigmund, Boxall, Caira (Boyd 82'); Rufer (Brindell-South 60'), Lia, Hernandez (Bertsch 65'); Fenton (Gulley 22'), Watson (Adams 65'), Huysegems