Finkler finally hitting his stride in Wellington

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When Jacob Tratt slid a header narrowly wide of Jerrad Tyson’s post in the opening stages of their 2-2 draw with the Wanderers there was genuine surprise amongst viewers.

It wasn’t the spurning of yet another first half ‘Nix chance in front of goal.

Nor was there an angered look on Kosta Barbarouses’ face to not receive the ball in a dangerous area.

There was disbelief that a Phoenix head had been found from a dead ball situation.

It has been a consistent weakness for the Phoenix this season but as of last night the Phoenix faithful were treated to a different side of set piece specialist Gui Finkler.

Consistently threatening delivery, coupled with dazzling footwork saw the Brazilian register his best performance in a yellow shirt, capped off with his first goal for the club.

It has been no secret that he has struggled with life in Wellington so far this season. Miss-hit passes and skewed shots have been what we have come to expect.

He was a different player in Auckland. From the outset he looked to dominate the ball, and the Wanderers’ defense could not contain him.

Showing the sort of form that saw him score 20 goals during his stint at the Victory, interim coaches Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham will be pleased to see their marquee signing starting to settle.

Deployed behind the combative Hamish Watson, Finkler flourished with more space in the attacking third. The defense appeared too occupied with the explosive Wellington frontline allowing Finkler to dictate the play.

As a player, he is an enigma.

He does not have the pace or the physicality to trouble A-League defenses, nor does he possess the sought after stamina of an A-League midfielder.

In many ways he can likened him to former player Carlos Hernandez who also struggled when joining the Phoenix from the Victory.

A combination of guile and precision make up a player who needs to be in touch with those around him and, with Watson at the helm, perhaps we are finally going to see the best that Finkler has to offer.

If he carries on the form that he displayed last night, it shouldn’t be long before he is consistently scoring and assisting for a team that looks more and more threatening as the competition continues.

The festive season holds many possibilities for the Phoenix. Three games against teams in the bottom half of the table if an attractive offer for a team on the rise.

They will be hoping there is more of the same from Finkler in the coming weeks.

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