WHEN teams fly the flag of parochialism, it's imperative they have enough home-grown talent in their squad to demand that backing.
Anything short of that will mean that sense of provincialism will take a hiding through the turnstiles at the park each weekend.
Phil Dol knows that only too well as the Bluewater Napier City Rovers prepare host Tawa AFC at Park Island, Napier, in a 2pm kick-off tomorrow.
"I'm born and bred here and I have big sense of pride for my club, but there aren't enough people like me who stick around in Hawke's Bay," says the 23-year-old wing back before the Lotto Central League soccer match at the Bluewater Stadium.
Dol got his first start last weekend in the Rovers' 3-0 victory away against the Brendan McIntyre-coached Lower Hutt City.
The Bill Robertson-coached side bounced back from a 5-1 defeat away to league leaders Miramar Rangers in the previous round for their only glitch so far this season, although Dol claimed the consolation goal against the predominantly 10-men hosts.
Tomorrow, Robertson expects his troops to claim three points if they play to their potential at their home turf, where they have not lost a match yet this season.
"This is a game we should be winning," he says.
Midfielder/defender Matt Hastings is unavailable, due to the wedding of reserve goalkeeper and brother-in-law in waiting Kyle Baxter today.
However, midfielder Chris Greatholder returns against the Wellingtonians, who lost 1-0 here last winter although they lost a man early in the game.
The O'Brien Challenge Shield, which the Rovers wrested off Lower Hutt, will be up for grabs every other time the Danny Wilson-captained side host matches for the remainder of the Wellington-heavy league.
The visitors beat Upper Hutt City 3-2 last weekend, but have lost their opener 3-2 to Petone and 4-1 to Western Suburbs.
Player/coach Daniel Wood says his men are struggling for consistency for extensive parts of the game.
"In all three games we have dominated for periods - with Petone it was in the first half and with Upper Hutt it was in the second."
Alluding to father and team manager Mike Wood, the son says they will be registering more wins if they can play for 90-plus minutes.
"When we get it right we'll be looking good but the lapses are costing us, so we have to improve," says the younger Wood, taking heart from their performance last winter here.
While Dol spies a niche for his playing career here, he is quick to point out it is hard to retain players in the Bay because of the lack of a university.
"EIT [Eastern Institute of Technology] isn't prestigious enough," says the former Napier Boys' High School pupil who has a desire to stamp his mark in the ASB Premiership over summer with the Kinetic Electrical Hawke's Bay United team.
Dol says when employers seek resumes for work they tend to go for Wellington and Auckland university qualified but "that's the nature of the beast".
A builder, he found it difficult to make a commitment to Bay United last season but accepts summer is when most of the construction happens.
"I spend a good nine and a half to 10 hours at work."
Having started his career with the Blues as a youngster who helped NBHS win the first Super 8 soccer title, Dol played a year with the Rovers in Central League before he helped the Cru Bar Maycenvale United team for two years to gain promotion to the top winter league.
"I went to Napier Boys' High for soccer. It's good to be back on top," says the man who played for the Taradale AFC Federation League outfit for the past two years.
He believes Maycenvale were relegated from the league because of their ill-timed shake-up and inability to retain home-grown talent, especially men with vision such as Greatholder and Robertson.
"The Rovers treat you like professionals."
Dol says New Zealand Football "is not really up to it" and soccer should learn how to do things from rugby.
The son of Jan and Chris Dol, who have been living in London for the past three years, he learned skills from his father, who is an ex-National League referee.