Frankly, if Bill Robertson was ever looking for excuses to drop his anchor in Hawke's Bay through summers he didn't have to look far to find them.

That's because, while Robertson plied his trade for Team Wellington as captain in the ISPS Handa Premiership for the past three seasons, he could never lost sight of wife Kristy and their 1-year-old son, Jack, living in Napier.

"The time was right with a few things going on here in Hawke's Bay with employment, family and things like that," says the 32-year-old England-born centre back after returning to the fold of Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United this season when the premiership kicks off in October.

The travelling from Napier to Wellington from the 2013-14 season to last summer was always going to test his mettle and his nuclear family's resolve, not that he ever doubted Kristy's support in fulfilling his passion in the national soccer league.


"It's been a big commitment for her as well to support me as well in travelling to Wellington to achieve my goals in football so I'm sure she'll be delighted to have me around a little more often in summer, and with my decision.

"We've got a young son now so that was a factor, too."

On the business end, it didn't escape Robertson's attention that Bay United had been consistently making the playoffs.

"I previously used to play for the club and captained the team so I still kind of have a vested interest there so that kind of made the decision easier as well."

It'll be the first season under Bay United coach Brett Angell for Robertson, who also will be his assistant coach and has no qualms about assuming the mantle of captaincy if the coaching stable see him in that role.

"It's a new challenge for me in a new environment and under a new coach so I'm looking forward to that, to be honest, because I get a chance to re-establish myself at the club."

Playing will be on the front burner for him and growing under the tutelage of Englishman Angell in the coaching department will be on the rear element.

"I'm looking forward to working with Brett as it looks like he's been pretty successful for the past few years and he's been making the playoffs consistently," he says.

Angell, who is back at the helm for his fourth season, has again reiterated the need for Bay United to not take the playoffs for granted.

He firmly believes the Bay franchise team, who consistently mutate due to the influx of overseas players, have the potential to not only clinch the premiership bragging rights but also qualifying for the Oceania Federation Cup.

Angell believes Bay United have been the third best team, below Auckland City FC and Team Wellington, in consistency under his reign.

The franchise also confirmed the return of striker Sam Mason-Smith, captaining Wairarapa United in winter during the Lotto Central League, and Conroy Removals Napier City Rovers goalkeeper Ruben Parker Hanks as returning players.

Robertson has led Team Wellington to back-to-back premiership crowns and OFC qualifiers and his injection into Angell's blueprint should instil a sense of belief in accomplishing those goals.

He hasn't discussed captaincy with Angell but it does capture his interest and imagination.

"It's something I certainly pride myself on but I can do a little bit with the experience I've got so I'll certainly set pretty high standards for myself and, hopefully, it'll flow on to the squad as well."

Robertson says his main goal in switching allegiances to Team Wellington was to experience OFC as well as win premiership crowns.

"Hopefully I can bring the experience of three finals to Hawke's Bay United to help them achieve that title and get into the O-League."

Bay United won't start training until next month and New Zealand Football have yet to confirm the premiership fixtures.

"I've really enjoyed my time with Team Wellington because they're a really great club and they have looked after me really well over the past few years.

"I've obviously met some good people and great players over there - I'll now be with Hawke's Bay for five seasons to four - I'm very much looking forward to being back in Hawke's Bay because this is home and I'm proud to play for my region," he says, aiming to do his best on and off the pitch.

While there's a tinge of disappointment in making three O-League finals against Auckland City, he isn't going to look back and dwell on it on account of four fantastic seasons with Team Wellington.

"If you had said to me three years ago that I would have won two titles and made three O-League finals I would have snapped off your hand so I've had a fantastic time there and now it's time to see if we can win the league here."

Robertson's work is still cut out as player/coach with Napier City Rovers who kick off against Wellington Olympic at Wakefield Park at 1.30pm today.

The sixth-placed Blues are coming off a 5-0 flogging at the hands of Miramar Rangers at Park Island, Napier, a fortnight ago but the Greeks, who are just a point adrift (19) off Rovers in eighth place, will seek victory to improve their standings today.

The bad news is Robertson, captain Fergus Neil and fellow defender James Hoyle are out with injuries while golden-boot candidate Angus Kilkolly will serve a match suspension after picking two yellow cards (equalling a red) against Rangers.

Defender Danny Wilson had recovered from the flu by yesterday afternoon.

Robertson says the Blues had a week off because of the Chatham Cup round last weekend but trained well.

"We did an analysis of the game [against Rangers] and while we conceded five goals we created a large number of chances, as many as the opposition, so there are a lot of positives to take out of that game as well."

He says Miramar boast national league class in players, such as Napier-born Andy Bevin, Tom Jackson and Joel Stevens, who were clinical so it was something his young charges took on board to rectify.

Robertson labelled Kilkolly's second yellow card as "we're not sure what it's for".

"The referee's saying he's struck out but on video it looks inconclusive," he says, revealing Kilkolly is disappointed but that opens the door for someone else to step up.

The Rovers host Team Taranaki in their last outing in a 2.30pm kickoff on Saturday, August 19.


WELLINGTON OLYMPIC: 1 Scott Basalaj (GK), 2 Federico Cruz, 4 Jacob Masseurs, 5 Blake Weston, 6 Gonzalo Amado, 7 Daniel Mulholland, 8 Kieran Patterson, 9 Gianni Bouzoukis, 10 Luis Corralles, 11 Sam Blackburn, 13 Chas Lawrence, 15 Dylan Wood, 16 Alex Palezevic, 19 Cristian Baz, 20 Mario Barcia.

Coach: Stu Jacobs.
Asst coach: Guillermo Schiltenwolf.

NAPIER CITY ROVERS: 1 Ruben Parker Hanks (GK), 2 Blake Koolen, 4 Jonny Cox, 5 Matt Bruin, 6 Oliver Coren, 7 Jean-Michel Paulin, 8 Chris McIvor, 10 Fahad Rwakarambwe, 12 Ethan Ladd, 14 Joshua Stevenson (c), 15 James Hoyle, 16 Danny Wilson, 18 Karan Mandair, 21 Kyle Baxter (RGK).

Coach: Bill Robertson.
Asst coach: Stu James.