Phoenix boss Merrick slams review system

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has lambasted the FFA's review system as his side's finals hopes were dealt a blow after a 2-2 draw against Melbourne Heart.

Several controversial refereeing decisions marred the match which saw Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund dismissed for two bookable offences, a Patrick Kisnorbo handball on the goal line not sighted by the officials and a debatable penalty awarded after Heart captain Harry Kewell went down in the area.

Merrick says he is confused by the FFA's methods of reviewing incidents after receiving a letter from the governing body outlining that off-the-ball incidents in the previous two games on Reece Caira and Kenny Cunningham would not be analysed.

"In the past these games were reviewed and if there was simulation or violent conduct behind the play or during play that wasn't picked up by the referee then it used to be reviewed - but it doesn't seem to work that way now," Merrick said.

"If you don't review them then people have success getting away with it if the referee is unsighted."

The Phoenix tactician was proud of his players for obtaining a result after playing with 10 men for more than 60 minutes, particularly as he felt Sigmund's dismissal was harsh.

"Results are never fair, you get what you fight for, and we fought for it and got a draw," he said.

"If we had 11 players on the field I had a good feeling about getting the win.

"I thought the two yellow cards were very tough on Ben (Sigmund), especially the second one, and the penalty made me thought it doesn't get much tougher than this.
"But the boys dug deep and fought hard and what doesn't kill you gives you a draw."

Wellington are now three points and significant goal difference behind sixth-placed Adelaide United but Merrick says the side is still targeting at least three wins in their remaining four matches to have a shot at competing in the post-season playoffs.

"We are playing teams we are competing with; we play Newcastle next week, then we have got Adelaide and then we have got Sydney," Merrick said.

"Because each of those games is a six pointer, I think we are definitely in it but we'll have to win games and win consistently because it's a very tight league."


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