FOOTBALL

Passionate Sigmund leads the way

Thursday 15 March 2012, 5:26PM
By Wellington Phoenix
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WELLINGTON

No player epitomises the spirit within the Wellington Phoenix more than defender Ben Sigmund, and his passion will be to the fore again in Friday night's vital Hyundai A-League game against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Stadium.

Always one to wear his heart on the sleeve, Sigmund doesn't hold back when it comes to talking about his love for a club that is poised to make its third appearance in the playoff finals in as many years.

"I have a real passion for this club and I am proud to wear its shirt," Sigmund said as the team bus headed through the Melbourne suburbs on the way to training.

That passion comes through game after game as he puts his body on the line time and again alongside his captain Andrew Durante in the centre of defence.

His, and the team's commitment was never more evident than in the recent 1-0 win over Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium and the thrilling 1-1 draw with Melbourne Heart last Saturday.

"For me that showed what we are about. We are grinding out results at an important part of the season," Sigmund said.

"Earlier in the season we were playing well in away games and getting nothing from them, but we have turned that around.

"I've been pretty happy with my own form, apart from the first half against Heart when I had probably my worst 45 minutes of the season.

"For me it is all about consistency and I pride myself on giving everything I have week in, week out."

Looking back on the Phoenix' recent form on the road that has brought four wins and a draw in six matches, Sigmund said it was pleasing but there is still a lot of work to be done.

"We've done well we can't afford to become complacent," he said.

"What we have achieved so far is acceptable but it has served as an incentive to go all the way.

"Everyone in this team wants to win the league, and if we can beat Victory there is a chance we can finish in the top two and that would be fantastic.

"The big goal though is to ensure we have a home final at Westpac Stadium.

"I want to see Westpac packed out again because those two playoff games we had there two seasons back are still fresh in my mind.

"It also gives something back to the real core of fans who have stood by us through everything.

"We also get good support on our travels. Wherever we play there are a couple of hundred supporters in their Phoenix shirts and when I see them it makes me strive to give my best."

Being based in Melbourne since the draw with Heart has made it hard on those players with families back in Wellington but Sigmund said the support he and his team-mates get is terrific.

"Deanna (his wife) obviously doesn't want me to be away for such a long time, but knows how important it is for us to do well so she backs me completely, he said.

"All our families get involved with what is happening and feel wins and losses just as much as the players."

The Phoenix have yet to beat Melbourne Victory on Australian soil but this has been a season of firsts for the Wellington club away from home it will be hoping for another first on Friday.