Three games in eight days is a tough ask for any team.

Wellington Phoenix’s scoop of six points from nine on offer represents a tidy showing for what was a grueling week in Wellington, and has seen the side’s finals chances lift dramatically.

In truth the Phoenix were unlucky to lose to a last gasp Jamie Maclaren winner in their 1-0 loss to Brisbane Roar last night.

They were in the fight for the vast majority of a match that possessed very few clear cut chances.

Through all their battling however, one thing remained clear.

When the final whistle blew they were dead on their feet.

Jacob Tratt has quickly become a fan favourite at Westpac Stadium. His tenacious work ethic sees him over an enormous amount of ground up and down the touch line game to game.

Roly Bonavacia has also had to put three of his larger shifts in this week. His positional shift has seen him become the focal point of a relentless Wellington press.

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Shane Smeltz is a thirty-five-year-old galloping round like every game might be his last.

As good as Wellington can be, their gung-ho attitude to adding supporting numbers in attack represents a model of football that will struggle to deal with the demands of the A-League at such a quantity.

Vince Lia was withdrawn from the field for what looks to be a hamstring injury midway through the second half, the result of resting so much responsibility upon the legs of aging warhorse. Why wasn’t this addressed?

Michael McGlinchey and Gui Finkler represent two valuable potential midfield options who have impressed from the bench in recent weeks.

Both players could feel aggrieved not to have earned starts regardless of the busy schedule.

Perhaps such game management will come with time for the newly appointed coaches of Wellington Phoenix, Des Buckingham & Chris Greenacre.

“I don’t think fitness is the reason we lost the game, I just think it was a lapse in concentration and unfortunately in the 87th minute that’s cost us,” Buckingham said post-match.

“Mistakes happen and that’s fine, we will put our heads down, reassess everybody and make sure everyone’s fine for Adelaide and go again next week.”

He is right in many ways. The game could have gone either way.

Though with such compelling options champing at the bit in the dugout, one can only wonder why they weren’t given more of a role in what was, the perfect opportunity to rest weary legs.

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