Former Wellington Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante says he believes there’s an historical bias against the club when it comes to “getting the rub of the green” from A-League referees.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Kiwi Football Fix show, the veteran of 273 Phoenix games was asked by host Goran Paladin if there was a ‘NIX-storical’ bias against the Phoenix.
“Yes. In short, I’m going to say, I reckon there is. There’s always the case where the bigger clubs get the rub of the green generally.
“And I feel like when I was a player at the Wellington Phoenix, we always got the rub of the green against us.
“Whether it’s factual or not, I truly believe that.”
The discussion with Durante followed the chaotic A-League match between the Phoenix and Sydney last weekend when two Nix players were red carded, and Sydney were awarded two debatable penalties in stoppage time.
“I remember (coach) Ernie Merrick when he came from Melbourne Victory and he saw it first hand, and he realised that, hey, we don’t get the rub of the green,” Durante said.
“‘At Victory, we often got the rub of the green’ … so for someone like Ernie to come and really experience it first hand, being at both the best club and then obviously coming to the Wellington Phoenix, then, you know, I think that says a lot.”
Main photo: Andrew Durante. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Kosta Barbarouses: ‘I felt sick’
Meanwhile, Wellington Phoenix forward Kosta Barbarouses says he felt sick watching the final stages of last weekend’s match against Sydney. He watched from the dugout after being subbed off.
“It could have been taken out of our hands and I think the conversation would have probably been a little bit different had it affected the result, but thankfully it didn’t and it’s a good three points on the road,” he said.
“I felt sick a couple of times. Me and Ruf (captain Alex Rufer) came off at the same time and we couldn’t believe what was going on. We were standing up, trying to keep calm.”
Phoenix won the match 1-0 but the decisions by officials on the pitch and in the VAR room have come under fire.