5 Jul 2016

Phoenix lose Aussie striker

10:39 am on 5 July 2016

Australian striker Blake Powell has been released from his contract with the Wellington Phoenix football club, returning to Sydney for personal reasons.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said he was sorry to see Powell leave but understood his reasons, calling the 25-year-old a "terrific person and "a popular member of the playing squad".

"From the moment he joined the club he showed a willingness to learn and he finished up as our top scorer," Merrick said.

"Our fans will never forget his four-goal burst in the 5-2 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium... that was very special and showed his potential," Merrick said.

Wellington Phoenix forward Blake Powell celebrates as he scores against Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta, Australia, 14.02.2016

Blake Powell celebrates one of his four goals against Western Sydney Photo: Photosport

"I wish Blake well, will keep in touch with him and follow his progress with interest."

Powell played 23 games for the Phoenix and scored eight goals.

The striker said he wanted to thank the club for being supportive of his decision to return home to Sydney to be closer to his family, and sent a special thank you to Merrick for giving him a second chance.

"Thank you to the supporters of the Phoenix for making me feel welcome in my first season, it was a pleasure getting to know some of you," Powell said.

"Lastly, thank you to my team and the coaching staff for a great season. I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people and I am very grateful for the time I spent with them all," he said.

Blake Powell fired in four goals for the Wellington Phoenix.

Photo: Photosport

"I wish Wellington Phoenix the best of luck in the 2016/17 A-League season."