A-League isolation begins for Phoenix

Daniel Gilhooly

Wellington Phoenix are convinced they'll be safe on their unique Sydney sojourn, so attention has turned to the really important stuff.

Now it's about making sure the wifi is working, the board games are stacked up and nobody gets bored at their remote accommodation base as they begin 14 days of self isolation to keep themselves in A-League contention.

The third-placed Kiwis were to get an early taste of what lies ahead on Wednesday, the start point of up to six weeks away from home.

After crossing the Tasman on a near-empty plane, they were guaranteed clear passage through Sydney Airport and a chartered bus to take them to their secret base for the next fortnight.

Every contracted player travelled aside from defender Luke DeVere, who flew to Brisbane with his pregnant wife on Tuesday, helping her settle back with her family before joining his team-mates 24 hours later.

Phoenix bosses won't reveal the location of the facility somewhere in greater Sydney that will double as their living quarters and training base.

They are anxious no members of the public visit, such is the regimented nature of their stay.

The FFA has paid for the venue and Phoenix operations manager Shaun Gill was pleased the governing body had agreed to all of their requirements, including individual rooms for every player and enough sports and leisure activities to keep them occupied.

"We're comfortable the facility we've got has everything we need and will still give the players a little bit of flexibility, that they're not just stuck in a room for 24 hours a day," Gill said.

"We're pretty confident we can get this done and the players have been absolutely amazing.

"It's obviously something challenging and new that we're not used to but it's been a fantastic season to date and a lot of them are still keen to see how far they can go."

Daily training and gym sessions will keep the players in shape but Gill said mental health would need close monitoring given their solitude.

A Wellington sport psychologist would be available for online consultation while the Australian PFA has also offered the services of well-being professionals.

Gill said an FFA liaison officer had been kept busy ensuring details such as streaming functionality and board games would be available for the players and staff.

The team will relocate to a Sydney hotel once their isolation period ends.

There, they will remain relatively isolated, having a floor to themselves and their own eating area, with football taking over their consciousness given what will be a rapid-fire schedule of six games inside three weeks before the finals.

"It will be very much hotel to game, hotel to game and not much time for exposure," Gill said.