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Wood scores in All Whites return

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/05/2016
Chris Wood. © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Chris Wood.

Skipper Chris Wood marked his return to the All Whites with a decisive goal in their 1-0 Nations Cup warm-up win over club side Redlands United in Brisbane.

As well as Wood's return, the All Whites have been significantly bolstered by the late inclusion of experienced striker Jeremy Brockie, called in for midfielder Clayton Lewis who has been stood down while being investigated for a possible drugs breach.

Coach Anthony Hudson says the pair will contribute a lot to the All Whites for their Oceania Nations Cup campaign, which kicks off on Saturday in Papua New Guinea.

"I don't think we can over-estimate how much it means for a player like Chris to be coming in," he said.

"It's a difficult time of the season for him but he's come in and is probably the fittest he has ever been in his career.

"It's the best I've seen him in his approach to the team and the tournament - that's a real credit to him and is a great example to the rest of the players."

Wood, 24, is likely to lead the line as New Zealand look to qualify for the next year's Confederations Cup.

He could be joined by Brockie, who is now fighting for a starting place with the likes of Kosta Barbarouses, Rory Fallon, Marco Rojas and Shane Smeltz.

Hudson said leaving Brockie out originally had been difficult.

"He loves playing for his country and he gives everything. So the fact that an opportunity has come up and he's coming back is something we're excited about.

The 28-year-old has been a regular feature on the scoresheet for SuperSport United in South Africa, and will be hoping to add significantly to his All Whites tally in Papua New Guinea.

Hudson is pleased with the way his team have been progressing as they sharpen up for Saturday's opening Nations Cup match against Fiji, and says the performance against Redlands was one of their best.

A final training match, scheduled for Tuesday against Brisbane City, has been cancelled.

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