Opinion: Wellington Phoenix season heading off the rails - again

OPINION: After their latest A-League capitulation, Wellington Phoenix coach Darije Kalezic bemoaned the lack of winners in his side.

On the evidence of their lacklustre season so far, it's hard to argue with his sentiments.

It's been a disappointing and demoralising start to the year for the Nix - rock bottom of the ladder after eight games and with a win column as full as the Cake Tin stands.

They've been all over the place at the back, conceding the most goals in the league. Their 3-2 loss against the Melbourne Victory was the latest example of a dispassionate performance.

After racing to a 2-0 lead, thanks to a pair of terrific headers from Andrija Kaludjerovic, the brittle backline fell apart.

The midfield coughed up possession too easily and Tom Doyle was caught ball-watching, as Besart Berisha sneaked in behind him. An unfortunate own goal was next, before Andrew Durante couldn't keep up with James Troisi, who coolly slotted the winner.

It's an alarming sign, but perhaps the most concerning aspect is the sense of familiarity around it. Earlier this year, they squandered a 3-0 lead against the Brisbane Roar.

Defensive lapses like this are unacceptable at the top level.

Oddly enough, they've had no problems scoring goals. While Kaludjerovic tends to drift in and out of games, he has still managed to hit the back of the net seven times and provides a real target in the box.

Dario Vidosic has chipped in with four goals and Roy Krishna has been busy with five assists.

But that's about as good as it gets.

Brazilian import Gui Finkler's been anonymous. The 32-year old has looked off the pace and was dropped ahead of the Victory clash for disciplinary reasons.

New coach Dario Kalezic has had a rocky opening season to date.
New coach Dario Kalezic has had a rocky opening season to date. Photo credit: Getty

Perhaps his absence is a good thing. Fans have been crying out for some magic from the creative midfielder, but his languid strides around the pitch have been delivering more curses than spell-binding football.

At the back, Durante has struggled to get up to speed and his combination with Marco Rossi doesn't seem to be there. Scott Galloway has battled injuries and new signing Ali Abbas has been flat. 

The goalkeeping situation has been confusing. It was refreshing to see 18-year-old Keegan Smith given the gloves, but his inexperience has shown.

While he can't be blamed for the shambles in front of him, you can't help wondering if it would have made more sense to blood him in the ISPS Handa Premiership for an extended spell, before giving him a go at the top-level.

Long-serving Lewis Italiano's now back between the sticks, although it's unclear how keen he is to play for a manager that dropped him in favour of an unheralded rookie.

It's still early days in the A-League season and in a competition with just 10 teams, there's plenty of time left to crack the top six.

However, their poor start will only increase the murmurings across the ditch about the Nix's value in the competition and the dreaded 'metrics' word is likely to be floated around.

Low crowd numbers, unsatisfactory performances and an air of mediocrity won't be going down well with A-League bosses.

Away trips to Brisbane and Perth loom, before three tough tests against sides in the top four.

It's time for the Nix to pick themselves up and save their season.

Henry Rounce is a Newshub sports reporter/producer