WELLINGTON Phoenix have signed Nick Ward from Melbourne Victory with the championship-winning midfielder to switch clubs immediately.
The 25-year-old, who played with Perth Glory in the inaugural Hyundai A-League season before a spell with Queens Park Rangers, has been with Victory since late 2007 and was a member of the squad that took the premiership and championship double in 2008-09.
Having scored five goals in his 21 appearances for Glory before adding another five in his 46 games with Victory, Ward heads across the Tasman saddened at leaving the club where he has enjoyed success but excited about the chance offered by Phoenix.
"I'm sad to be leaving Melbourne but the prospect of first-team football at Phoenix was obviously very appealing," said Ward, who has played just six minutes in one appearance so far in 2010-11.
"I want to be playing week in, week out and I feel I have a better chance of regular football with Wellington. I enjoyed my time in Melbourne and met some great people along the way.
"We're parting on good terms and I wish the guys the best of luck for the rest of the season."
While Melbourne football operations manager Gary Cole says the club is 'sad' to lose 'a valuable contributor', Wellington coach Ricki Herbert believes Ward's injection into the midfield will improve the squad as competition for spots intensifies.
"Nick's a good addition to the squad and adds depth into the midfield in a more attacking role," Herbert said.
"He's the sort of midfielder who gets more advanced (up the pitch) and he has a great engine.
"In Victory's premiership season in 2008-09 Nick was quite prolific scoring goals for the club and played a major role for them, so bringing a proven goal-scoring midfielder will certainly add something for us."
"There's now a healthy competition for places and we must remember that, given the longer season, everyone will have ample opportunity to stake their claims.
"It's a good headache for me to have as a coach and I'm sure all the players will be looking forward to the challenge."