Where Angus Kilkolly hangs out on the paddock, you have got to have the smarts to make the most of your opportunities.
Blink at the coal face and Kilkolly knows only too well the usually beefy, bolshy and mouthy blokes have the ability to convert that mental lapse into feeling like a colossal blunder.
It seems that's the sort of mind set the 23-year-old striker is adopting after losing his 30-month-old perch with high-flying Team Wellington in the national summer league.
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That's football, Kilkolly reckons, after cutting a track from the capital city to Auckland where his partner, Lydia Askew, of Taradale, has secured employment in marketing.
Yes, he's moving on but that doesn't mean he's going to erase the sense of rejection but simply accept some things happen for a reason and look forward to what lies ahead.
"We didn't really want to move back to Hawke's Bay because we're still quite young to move back there."
Consequently Kilkolly has started commuting from the Big Smoke — where he works as a house painter — to re-ignite the rapport with his hometown franchise, Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United, after clearing his papers in time for the 4-2 loss to Auckland City FC last weekend.
"It is [disappointing]. Obviously at the start of the season you want to contribute and be there for the rest of it so it's gut-wrenching to leave mid-way through," says the 23-year-old from Hastings after showing he hasn't lost his touch with a goal at Kiwitea St on his new lease to complete the summer on a memorable note.
"It's an industry where you have to help bring in results."
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That's what the Chris Greatholder and Bill Robertson co-coached Bay United want to hear before they kick off against Wellington Phoenix Reserves at 2pm on Sunday, after three losses on the trot on the road — Hamilton Wanderers before Christmas and Team Wellington before the City one.
A regular under Jose Figuera, Kilkolly became surplus to requirements under the Scott Hales reign this summer when former Wellington Phoenix player Hamish Watson and Englishman Sam Mason-Smith came into the fray. Both are ex-Bay United players who had served under former English mentor Brett Angell.
Kilkolly — who had returned from a stint in Lithuania to help Angell's side book a playoffs berth — had played the first four games, coming off the bench twice this season for Team Wellington.
The former O-League golden boot winner, who represented Team Wellington at the Club World Cup last year, is pleased to have ticked all those boxes.
Having played under Greatholder and Robertson during the Napier City Rovers winter league campaigns made his transition here easier.
Training here on Thursday and Fridays for Sunday matches is a tall order but Kilkolly's keen to make it work in the quest for a playoffs for the co-coaches in their first season at the helm as a combination.
"Obviously I prefer to be with Hawke's Bay sort of the whole league to become part of team much easier so we're trying to find a happy medium, really."
He found his first training last Thursday quite productive, considering he hasn't played for almost two months.
The chemistry among the lads hasn't missed his attention although he had read about the cohesiveness built in a culture of encouragement and devoid of self-importance over the collective.
"We all strive to make the playoffs and there are no individuals or egos so we're all sort of into this kind of together on one goal," he says.
Kilkolly says Bay United were aware of City's unblemished status so the intent always was to go there to express themselves.
"We had nothing to lose because people expect us to go there to lose so we wanted to go there to get a result but, obviously, they took their chances on the day and we didn't take ours."
From where he's been scanning the premiership landscape, Auckland City (on 24 points on the ladder) have been the only ones to have had a grip on the competition while Team Wellington, on 18, aren't really out of the wilderness just yet.
Everyone, he reckons, needs to start building some consistency. It's all good to have one over the Wee-Nix but it's equally imperative to stamp their supremacy over a resurgent Tasman United.
No doubt Greatholder is losing patience, agreeing last Sunday talk is becoming cheap in a ritual where losses tend to prompt the urge to look for "positives" but teams live or die on eking out at least a point, if not the maximum three to stay in the hunt.
"It's a crazy league this year," says Kilkolly, after Hamilton Wanderers upset Team Wellington 1-0 last weekend. "Hamilton [third on the ladder] are probably one of two teams who were near the bottom three games ago and they have sort of gone on to [move up the ladder]."
Ditto fourth-placed Tasman United sit above Eastern Suburbs with sixth-placed Bay United three points adrift of Hamilton and tied on 12 points with Waitakere United.
That bottle-neck situation rings true for just about any franchise but how many of the eight remaining contenders will have enough desperation to convert that into points for the other two playoff berths rather than make a late run when the surface becomes more slippery.
With the Phoenix competing in the A-League on Friday night, the Wee-Nix are likely to have some of the peripheral squad members drop to the premiership ranks for game time considering the big boys have a bye next up.
"It's so tight that if you win two or three games in a row you'll find yourself in good positions so if we find some consistency we'll have no issues making the playoffs," says Kilkolly, who feels Bay United's attitude against City was fine and the hunger to score twice.
He hopes to add value to the quality already in the squad but agrees Greatholder's reaction is geared towards lifting them out of a cliche of creating opportunities that don't result in victories.