'Extremely disappointing' - Phoenix made to wait on Australia return


Wellington Phoenix general manager David Dome fears his team's A-League title hopes are being damaged while the side waits at home for clearance to enter Australia ahead of next month's proposed competition restart.

The Phoenix are third on the ladder and, if coronavirus restrictions continue to ease, could even host the decider if they earn the right once games resume as slated on July 16.

But a month out and the Phoenix are yet to enter the country, where they will need to quarantine for 14 days just as NRL counterparts the Warriors did early last month.

Dome has suggested the side needs at least one month in Australia before the re-start to be properly prepared.

"Extremely disappointing we can't get the team into Australia to start training," Dome tweeted.

"We're making more of a sacrifice than any other team in the A-League and we're getting blocked - we won't have the same training window as every other club."

He said the club had been left in the dark waiting for clarity.

"It has taken a long time to get through the bureaucracy," he told stuff.co.nz.

"All we're asking is for the same process the Warriors went through and to expedite the process.

"We're not getting contact. It's being managed through the (A) league and the league can't get the NSW authorities to push it any faster."

It would be the second such hub experience for the Phoenix, who returned for a six-night Sydney stay in March before the season was postponed.

During that trip, Tim Payne and Oli Sail were involved in a golf buggy joy-ride that landed Payne in court, where he pleaded guilty to a drink-driving charge.

Some of the squad are already based in Sydney, while star pair Ulises Davila and striker Gary Hooper flew home to Mexico and England respectively when the A-League shut down in March, but were both keen to return for a title push.

The Phoenix still have six matches to play.

Source AAP