Smeltz is a gun for hire


Shane Smeltz weekend goal was his 52nd in the Hyundai A League, and leaves him just a solitary goal behind Melbourne Victory hero Archie Thompson on the all time scorers list.

Yesterday was a great day to be a New Zealander.

At the same time that The All Blacks were inching toward extinguishing their Rugby World Cup hoodoo by beating France in the final in Auckland, a couple of All Whites veterans were scoring crucial goals in the Hyundai A League.

In the F3 Derby in Newcastle, Christchurch native Jeremy Brockie scored the goal that sank The Central Coast Mariners.

Meanwhile, across the nation in Perth, a much travelled and supremely gifted striker by the name of Shane Smeltz provided the crucial touch for The Glory as they saw off The Wellington Phoenix.

It was Smeltz third goal in the opening trio of games for his new employers who have now won all three fixtures and lead the chasing pack behind seemingly unstoppable defending champions, The Brisbane Roar.

His goal yesterday was his 52nd in the Hyundai A League, and leaves him just a solitary goal behind Melbourne Victory hero Archie Thompson on the all time scorers list.

Smeltz is a gun for hire.

He began his football journey on The Gold Coast back in 1999 and his lust for goals has included time in Adelaide, the UK ( With Mansfield Town and AFC Wimbledon), back home to New Zealand with the Phoenix, an ill advised 1 week stop in China, a brief stint in Turkey before he landed in Perth.

He-s had more clubs than Greg Norman as he-s travelled the globe in search of goals. Clubs come calling for the wily goal poacher because his reputation precedes him. If it-s goals you-re lacking, Smeltz is The Delivery Man.

Yesterday he was popping up at the near post at the perfect moment, as Bas van den Brink nodded Jacob Burns- free kick into the strikers- path. A clean, sweet volley from the killer Kiwi and Glory had the goal that would win then the game.

Whilst that effort showcased Smeltz-s superb poachers instinct (as did his sensational goal against The Italians in last years- World Cup in South Africa) there-s a lot more to his armoury than just foraging for scraps in the box.

The week prior he scored both goals in Glory-s win in Melbourne against The Heart. The first was a perfectly timed header, Smeltz losing his marker, pulling away at the back post and powering it home. The second goal, a rocket from outside the penalty box showed that he can hit them as hard and as well as anyone doing the rounds.

It-s this versatility that makes him such a sort after asset for clubs looking to press for honours.

Smeltz-s gifts are reminiscent of one of Australia-s great goal machines, Damian Mori, who like the New Zealander, went were the work was, scored goals wherever he played and however they came.

On current form Smeltz is set to become the Hyundai A League-s all time top scorer.

His coach Ian Ferguson couldn-t have asked for more from his star signing who has given his new club the perfect start to their campaign.

Last year Perth Glory started in similar fashion before their season calcified in the summer heat of the West.
However this year they have the all conquering All White on their books.

One can hope that it means that The Glory days are well and truly back.