Wind? Check. Rain? Check. Phoenix. Yep.
Game one of the new A-League season was certainly an experience. Despite some pretty wild weather patterns in New Zealand's capital, this was the first time a game had come close to not being completed. The referee offered to call things off at half-time, presumably because the game of water polo the match had become was verging on dangerous.
A check of the A-League's Operations Manual confirms that had the game been abandoned at half-time, the result at the time (2-1 to Phoenix) would have stood. Understandably the visitors were keen to continue.
Much has been made of other teams' dislike for a journey to Wellington, with the often inclement weather here usually included in the conversation. This game will further fuel that argument. It's somehow concluded that the unbeaten run of twenty matches at the Ring of Fire must have more to it than just football.
Being familiar with local conditions is one thing, but Friday was something else. No football team can adapt to a pitch so sodden that passes along the deck became a lottery and simply staying on your feet was an achievement.
It actually made for great entertainment for the close to 9000 hardy souls who braved the elements to watch the game. There were six goals, something we've only seen twice before in a Phoenix home match. The first time was on a very similar night at the start of the 2008/09 season when Danny Alsopp guided Melbourne Victory to a 4-2 win in the wind and rain. The other was the famous 6-0 win over against Gold Coast last season.
This time round the goals and the points were shared. Last season Phoenix went through a worrying stage of conceding late goals to drop points. Chris Grossman's last-gasp equaliser for North Queensland and a Roddy Vargas header for Melbourne Victory spring instantly to mind. Jason Culina's header to snatch Gold Coast a draw on Friday night also came late in the piece and completed a comeback from 3-1 down.
To be fair, Gold Coast deserved it. They had twice as many shots, hit the post twice and constantly asked questions of the Phoenix defence. Manny Muscat's move into central midfield from rightback in the game's final quarter gave Joel Porter the extra time and space he needed to cause problems up and down the left flank and his delivery for the final goal was almost inevitable.
On the plus side, it was great to see Chris Greenacre get his season off to a flyer. Strikers need goals to build and maintain their confidence and the brace Greenacre collected was nothing less than his energetic performance deserved. He arrived in Wellington last year with the reputation of scoring the so-called "unfashionable goals" from in and around the six-yard box, and he did so twice in this game. Neither will win a "Goal of the Season" award, but last time I checked, they all count for one. Greenacre's relishing the chance to play alongside a target man in Dylan Macallister and the partnership shows promising early signs.
Macallister will get the chance to face his former employers when the Mariners pay a visit to Wellington on Sunday. If Phoenix can continue a quite astonishing record of six consecutive clean-sheets against the Mariners, the unbeaten run in Wellington will extend even further. And hard as it may be to believe, the long-range weather forecast is actually quite promising.
Sunshine, blue skies, Phoenix anyone?