Talk about a brave Scotsman ... yes new Napier City Rovers striker Chris Parker is definitely one.

"There's a bit of pressure. Dad has told me about his stats when he was here," Parker said.

The 19-year-old is the second of three children of Gary Parker, one of the most prolific scorers in the club's history who scored 128 goals in 161 matches for the Blues in the 1980s and another when he made an appearance as a substitute during a visit to his former club in 2005.

Parker knows comparisons will be made regularly between him and the old man when he takes the field in round three of the Central League completion in a fortnight.


He will miss tomorrow's round one fixture against New World Newlands North Wellington at Bluewater Stadium at 2pm and the Blues round two match with a quad injury suffered in training last week.

The teen's statistics from his final season with the Dandy City NPL under-20s in Melbourne suggest he has the potential to emulate some of his father's feats.

Parker scored 25 goals in 23 games as he helped the side secure a fourth place.

That was the last of his three seasons playing in Australia and prior to the move to the Southern hemisphere Parker played in Scotland for 12 years.

"Dad persuaded me to come to Napier. He said it was a good place to learn. I'm here for this season initially but if I settle in well and everything goes to plan I could be here long-term," Parker, who arrived in the Bay a fortnight ago, said.

"Napier City Rovers is everything dad told me. Everyone is nice and friendly and it is a good community club."

Because he has New Zealand citizenship Parker is eligible for New Zealand teams and he has set securing a spot in the Junior All Whites team as a long-term goal.

However, like his father, Parker is also a handy rugby player and played centre and wing for Melrose age group teams so there is a chance he could be lured away to the oval ball code.


Returning to the football field is Parker's immediate priority.

The online stacker for Countdown was out of action for three months with an ankle injury before arriving in the Bay so is eager for game time.

He has been impressed with the Rovers training sessions to date.

"There are a lot of talented players in the squad and the expectations are there."

Naturally Parker is hoping he will be firing when his father, who has worked as a banker in Melbourne for the past seven years, comes to watch him play next month.

Like his father, who plays off a three handicap, Parker enjoys a round of golf when he isn't training, playing football or working.

"I know I'm not as good at that game as dad," he added with a grin.

Having played rugby most of his life, including for the Scotland under-18 team, Parker Snr played professional football for Berwick Rangers and Scottish Premier League (SPL) club Hearts before his six-year stint with Napier City Rovers.

Upon returning home he had a stellar career with glamour rugby club Melrose, culminating in selection on the wing for the Scotland A, the Scottish XV and South of Scotland teams.

In 1993 alone Parker played the All Blacks twice, marking Eroni Clarke and Va'aiga Tuigamala, and later marked David Campese and Joe Roff in matches against Australia.

Not content with that, he also played American Football in the European NFL as a kicker for the Edinburgh Claymores before going on to become a well-known BBC Radio comments man whose credits include SPL football, Six Nations Rugby and British golf's showpiece The Open.

"I originally only wanted to come to Hawke's Bay for six months and ended up staying for 6-1/2 years,'' Parker Snr recalled during a visit to the Bay in 2005.

"It was one of the best times of my life and shaped me as an individual. I was 19 when I arrived and I think I enjoyed it so much here because of my rugby background.''

In 1991, having just played for a New Zealand football XI coached by Kevin Fallon, Parker decided to sneak back to Scotland for a few weeks before emigrating to New Zealand fulltime.

"I thought I'd be away eight weeks, but when I arrived back in Scotland the 1991 Rugby World Cup was on. I arrived on the Tuesday having never played rugby for nine years and Melrose, who were one of the top three clubs in the premiership, had nine players away at the World Cup.

"Melrose asked me to play on the Friday night and when I couldn't get a start at halfback or first five, I ended up on the wing and the rest is history.''

During the next few years Parker was part of a Melrose side that won six Scottish championships in six years, with the diminutive winger scoring a club record 1900 points along the way.

Other highlights included playing for the Borders franchise in the Heineken Cup against Welsh club Llanelli.

"I out-kicked Frano Botica,'' Parker said.

"We beat Llanelli 24-17 at Hawick and he kicked four out of eight and I kicked eight out of nine.''

From there it was a seamless transition into a coaching career with Melrose, where he again had championship success, before Parker took a huge gamble to become coach of second division strugglers Biggar.

Under his watch they became a credible first division force.

Parker is one of several players unavailable for tomorrow's fixture. Uruguyan striker Martin Bueno is suspended and first string keeper Alex Britton is injured.

Experienced reserve keeper Kyle Baxter will replace Britton.

Blues player-coach Bill Robertson, who will miss the match with his Team Wellington commitments, admitted having little knowledge on the North Wellington team.

"They are newly promoted to this level so will be a dangerous proposition. North Wellington are a big club and traditionally the promoted team takes on the defending champions."

Like his Rovers clubmates he is eager to see Parker in action.

"Gary contacted me to see if there was a spot available for him and we were happy to bring him in and give him an opportunity."

The other Hawke's Bay team in the Central League, Havelock North, will open their campaign in a fortnight.

The Napier City Rovers team for tomorrow is:
Kyle Baxter (GK), Jamie Wilkinson, Sho Goto, Nick Yorke, Josh Stevenson, Jim Hoyle, Andrew Abba, Jonny McNamara, Liam Schofield, Patryk Misik, Gavin Hoy, Kaeden Atkins, Karan Mandair, Fergus Neil, Zac Madsen.