New Zealand's striker Jeremy Brockie (L) fights for the ball with Paraguay's midfielder Enrique Vera during the Group F first round 2010 World Cup football match Paraguay vs. New Zealand on June 24, 2010 at Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane. NO PUSH TO MOBILE / MOBILE USE SOLELY WITHIN EDITORIAL ARTICLE -- AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATANew Zealand's striker Jeremy Brockie (L) fights for the ball with Paraguay's midfielder Enrique Vera during the Group F first round 2010 World Cup football match Paraguay vs. New Zealand on June 24, 2010 at Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane. NO PUSH TO MOBILE / MOBILE USE SOLELY WITHIN EDITORIAL ARTICLE -- AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA

Johannesburg (AFP) - New Zealander Jeremy Brockie scored his first competitive goal since joining Mamelodi Sundowns last January to set up a 3-1 South African Premiership win over Free State Stars on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old international striker joined the 2016 CAF Champions League winners after scoring consistently for another Pretoria-based top-flight club, SuperSport United.

But Brockie has struggled to replicate his previous form at Sundowns, leading to him being regularly relegated to the bench.

Starting against Free State, he took advantage of comical defending to volley his club into a 12th-minute lead at the Loftus Versfeld stadium Sundowns share with rugby team Blue Bulls.

A brace from Uruguayan Gaston Sirino stretched the lead to three goals before Harris Tchilimbou from Congo Brazzaville pulled one goal back for Stars on 37 minutes.

Sundowns comfortably retained their advantage in the second half and rose three places to third, five points behind leaders Orlando Pirates, who they host Saturday.

“It was great for the confidence of Jeremy that he finally scored,” said Sundowns coach and former South Africa striker Pitso Mosimane.

“After battling for so long to get on the scoresheet, he could have finished with a hat-trick as the Free State goalkeeper twice denied him with good saves.”

South African FA Cup trophy-holders Stars, who will represent the country in the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup with Kaizer Chiefs, remain eighth in the 16-club championship.

In Soweto, Chiefs climbed from seventh to fourth by edging 12th-place Black Leopards 1-0 through a goal from Zimbabwean Willard Katsande.

A corner four minutes before half-time led to the match-winner with the ball nodded across the goalmouth to Katsande, who bravely headed past goalkeeper King Ndlovu.

Pirates have 22 points after 12 rounds, Wits 20, Sundowns, Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtic and Polokwane City 17 and SuperSport 15.