Football: Australia coach Graham Arnold casts shade on Wellington Phoenix reign atop A-League

  • 27/03/2024
Graham Arnold couldn't resist a jibe at the Wellington Phoenix expense.
Graham Arnold couldn't resist a jibe at the Wellington Phoenix expense. Photo credit: Photosport

With a comfortable 5-0 victory over Lebanon - and another step towards World Cup qualification - under his belt, Australian men's football coach Graham Arnold has taken the opportunity to make fun of Wellington Phoenix A-League dominance.

The team from the NZ capital have sat stop the competition table for much of the current season and enjoy a three-point advantage over second-placed Central Coast Mariners, after playing an extra fixture.

Arnold was questioned about the need to keep introducing new players to his national squad and lamented the fact his player pool keeps changing from one international window to another.

"We're trying to regenerate the Socceroos squad while we're trying to play World Cup qualifiers," he said. "Today, we only had nine players who were at the World Cup in Qatar, and that's how quickly it can change.

"This next June window... the bottom six teams of the A-League I won't be able to pick from. The ones that get knocked out in the semi-finals and don't play for three weeks, it's going to make it hard.

"The Grand Final is on June 2. Pretty much, I'll only be able to pick players from the Grand Final teams."

One journalist helpfully pointed out the likelihood that one of those teams might come from across the Tasman.

"That just shows you where we're at, Wellington are winning it," chuckled Arnold. "Kiwis!

 "That's a joke, it's banter please. I don't want to see there's a headline tomorrow."

Sorry Graham... it's just banter, you understand.