Wellington Phoenix striker Jeremy Brockie said he has put behind him the trauma of being cut by Newcastle Jets as he prepares for the “defining season” of his career.
Brockie was deemed surplus to requirements after a stellar season in the Hunter and opted to return home to sign for Phoenix.
The New Zealand international spent two seasons with the Jets, playing 41 games and scoring 11 goals, but that was not enough to secure him a new contract.
"I had a good season at Newcastle so I was obviously disappointed (it did not work out),” Brockie said.
"But football is football and what's happened has happened.
"I have not thought too much about it and from day one since signing for Wellington I've felt very comfortable with the decision.
"The boys have made me really welcome and I'm enjoying myself.
"I'm very happy in Wellington, I've bought a house here and I can't wait for the season to start."
Brockie was always seen as a highly promising striker with the ability to score spectacular goals but his career stalled with a series of injuries and unfortunate situations at some of the clubs he played for, like North Queensland Fury, which was forced to fold.
His return to New Zealand may be the tonic he needs to fulfil his potential.
"I have not been very lucky with injuries and 2011-2012 was my first injury-free season after having a proper pre-season,” Brockie said.
"I suppose my performances and the goals I scored for the Jets showed this.
"I've been working very hard during pre-season to make sure I get my focus going again and hopefully I can build on what I achieved last season.
"I look forward to bigger and better things in the coming season.
"I feel right after changing clubs and moving to my home surroundings.
"This could be my defining season and I'd love to show the Wellington supporters that I'm a good signing.”
This could also be a decisive season for Brockie's World Cup aspirations.
Brockie played a part in the All Whites' 2010 campaign in South Africa and would dearly love to become one of only a few New Zealanders to play in two World Cups.
To qualify for Brazil, the All Whites must win a final qualifying group featuring New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Tahiti and then beat a team from CONCACAF over two legs for a spot in 2014.
“We've got some important World Cup qualifiers coming up and when we get back from our pre-season tour of India we go straight into camp for the games with New Caledonia, the Solomons and Tahiti in September and October,” Brockie said.
"The OFC Nations Cup was not very good for us but we can't make too many excuses.
"We've got to put our defeat in the semis at the back of our heads now and concentrate on the very important World Cup qualifying games.
"Hopefully we will qualify and get another shot at the big time.
"Playing in another World Cup is one of my main goals.
"It was such an amazing experience in South Africa.
"And that's why my performances for Wellington are important because they will determine whether I stay in the All Whites set-up.
"Phoenix should give me the best chance of reaching my ambition.
"Ricki Herbert of course is the Phoenix and national team coach and I will be training in front of him every day and playing for him every weekend
"So I see this as a good opportunity for me to stamp my mark on the starting eleven for club and country.”
New Zealand's success at the London Olympics where it leads Australia on the medals table is not lost on Brockie.
He also thinks that the country's exploits in the Games should rub off on Phoenix in its tussles with Australia's elite.
"There will always be a healthy rivalry between us and Australia,” he said.
"There are many jokes floating around at the moment because of our greater haul of gold medals but there are still many medals up for grabs till the end of the Games.
"Being a Kiwi, I'm very proud of our achievements.
"The A-League is getting stronger every year but we'll hit the ground running.
"I'm sure the whole Phoenix team will have a spring its step after what happened in London and ride the Olympic spirit.”
Promising striker Tomi Juric has been lured to Western Sydney Wanderers on a two-year deal as coach Tony Popovic sets about tweaking his Premiers’ Plate winning side for next season.