Interim Phoenix co-coach thanks mentor Merrick

Wellington Phoenix’s joint interim coach Chris Greenacre says Ernie Merrick’s long-lasting influence filtered through to their morale-boosting win over Central Coast Mariners.

Greenacre and fellow interim boss Des Buckingham guided the hosts to a comfortable 3-0 victory in Hamilton just five days after Merrick’s shock resignation.

REPORT: Phoenix power past Mariners in Hamilton

The former had assisted Merrick since his arrival in 2013 and paid tribute to the Scot at the end of an emotional week.

“For us he was the perfect mentor,” Greenacre said.

“To be able to draw on 30 years of experience on a daily basis is something you can’t get on coaching courses.

“Being tested on a daily basis was something we thrived on. We probably couldn’t have done it this week without him.”

Phoenix players celebrate Vince Lia's goal against the Mariners.

Wellington’s refreshed attacking setup paid off against the Mariners as front-man Hamish Watson spearheaded a potent performance.

“He’s a physical presence, he’s a top finisher and he’s got a fantastic work ethic,” Greenacre said of Watson.

“We mentioned this week about this attacking blueprint we’ve got and he falls into that.

“In patches I thought we were devastating (with) some of the attacking play.”