The clock is ticking. He is two cans into a six-pack of Southern Gold. "Eight bucks for a six-pack. That's about as 'real' as you're going to get," he says. Verrall has the easy part. His athletes are out there somewhere to the south of his Mt Wellington home, chugging along at an altitude that would give him a pulmonary embolism. The night before Verrall had boxed up "eight or nine" of his young pigeons.