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Smeltz to join Gold Coast

Wellington Phoenix striker Shane Smeltz is set to join the new Gold Coast A-League team from next season.

The speculation about the 27-year-old’s future ended after it was confirmed Smeltz had not extended his current contract at Wellington and has accepted a three-year deal with the Gold Coast United.

The All Whites representative striker was top scorer in Wellington’s inaugural A-League season and had more recently been linked with Gold Coast United and Adelaide United.

Smeltz was born in Germany, but grew up on the Gold Coast and played for the Brisbane Strikers in the old NSL prior to heading first to Adelaide then overseas. He said the lure of the Gold Coast region was a significant factor in his decision.

“I was brought up on the Gold Coast and it’s always been one of the places I have called ‘home’. I have a wife and two young daughters and we’re all looking forward to beginning a new phase in our lives.

“I think it’s clear that Gold Coast United are ambitious and intend to be a successful club and I’m looking forward to being part of that success in the future.”

United Coach Miron Bleiberg believes the New Zealand striker is the type of player hius team requires to ensure a successful first season for his club.

“We couldn’t be happier that Shane has decided to join us as I’m sure he was on the radar of a number of other clubs,” said the Gold Coast coach.

“As a new entrant in the competition it’s vital that we are strong in our first season and to do that we have to have proven strikers. In Shane Smeltz that’s exactly what we are getting – a player who has scored regularly in this league and is always a threat to any defence.

“Our next mission is to secure players who will provide the ammunition for Shane to become an even more prolific goalscorer and an even better player than he is already,” Bleiberg said.

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Real Football

Published on November 5, 2008

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