Phoenix sign experienced ‘keeper from Jets after departure of Oli Sail

posted in: A-League (Men), News

The Wellington Phoenix have signed experienced goalkeeper Jack Duncan in the wake of the departure of All Whites custodian Oli Sail.

Duncan (30) will vie with up-and-coming ‘keeper Alex Paulsen (20) for the goalkeeper slot in the Phoenix starting line-up.

Main photo: Jack Duncan … on his way to Wellington.

Duncan has been granted an early release from the remainder of his contract with the Newcastle Jets, enabling him to join the Phoenix for the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League season.

He has played 104 A-League matches since making his debut in 2011 and has played professionally in Denmark and Saudi Arabia.

He was a key member of the Newcastle side that went from wooden spooners in 2017 to grand finalists in 2018, but he, unfortunately, missed the title decider after tearing his quad in the Jets’ semi-final victory.

Phoenix coach Giancarlo Italiano says it was “very, very important” they signed an experienced ‘keeper to compete with Paulsen.

Wellington Phoenix’s Alex Paulsen … will vie with new signing Jack Duncan. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

“We now have two ‘keepers from different ends of the spectrum,” Italiano said. “Jack is an experienced ‘keeper and AP is a young and up and coming ‘keeper with a lot to prove.

“If you’re the experienced ‘keeper you need a young ‘keeper pushing you through and if you’re the young ‘keeper you need someone experienced to push you as well.

“I’ve mentioned to both of them that they’ll get the opportunity to establish themselves as the no. 1. It’s really going to come down to how they train and how they perform in the environment.

“Our goalkeeper coach Ruben Parker is going to have competitive trainings with two professionals that will push each other. I think both of them can step up and meet the challenge.”

Jack Duncan highlights

Check out some of Duncan’s saves in the A-League:

‘I’m looking forward to getting stuck in’

Duncan is up for the challenge and is looking forward to the “change of scenery”.

“That’s all you can ask for as a footballer to get the opportunity to put your best foot forward and earn your place in the team,” he said.

“Hopefully, I can do that over pre-season and come round one be between the sticks for the Phoenix.

“I look forward to getting over to Wellington and getting stuck in with Alex, the other ‘keepers and all the boys.”

Duncan had the second-best save percentage in the 2022-23 A-League, narrowly behind the league’s goalkeeper of the season Lawrence Thomas.

“I’m known for shot-stopping and being quite quick around the goal. I also like to dominate the box and come for crosses, and sweep in behind the backline.

“Hopefully, I can bring all of those attributes to the Phoenix and keep some clean sheets.”

‘He’ll be really good for the changing room’

Giancarlo Italiano believes Duncan will bring a lot to the squad, both on and off the pitch.

“I’m really excited for Jack because he’s a good kid with the ambition to do very well. He’s still got fire to be successful and push on.

“I think he’ll be really good for the changing room, and he’ll contribute as a leader as well.

“More importantly, he’s going to fit the environment and what we want to do next season.”

The Wellington Phoenix now have 15 players signed for the 2023-24 A-League, with pre-season to start early next month.


This story is published with the help of the Wellington Phoenix.

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