The loss to Western Suburbs has jolted Napier City Rovers out of any preconceived notions of comfort zone they may have got built around themselves this season.

"We're really disappointed with our performance but it's been a bit of a wake-up call for us," says player/coach Bill Robertson of the Thirsty Whale-sponsored Blues who kick off at 2.30pm against Stop Out at Hutt Park, Wellington, in a round five Ultra Football Central League match today.

"It's probably important to remember that Suburbs are the [defending] champions and they are champions for a reason," says Robertson, adding coach Declan Edge has refined his troops into a solid unit in and out of possession.

Conversely he feels the Joshua Stevenson-captained Rovers struggled in possession to build any sustained pressure after conceding a sloppy opening goal in the 2-1 loss at Park Island, Napier, last Sunday.


Suburbs showed some quality on the breaks through Elijah Just, someone who Robertson labels as "probably one of the country's most promising players".

Sitting back against Suburbs also was an acknowledgement of how they keep the ball better than other sides in the league so he has no complaints losing to the undefeated team.

Robertson says he made some tactical decisions on the park to address some issues but as a centreback he isn't able to have as good a view of the game as he would if he were on the sideline.

"That's the nature of the league and it's a good competition. It was a really good test for us so we'll bounce back [today] against Stop Out, which should be a very big challenge."

The defeat also works in the Blues' favour, releasing some tension on remaining unbeaten.

Speedy winger Wesley Cain has returned from Canada while veteran Chris McIvor makes way for Hastings Boys' High School defender Nick Yorke to join the squad.

Robertson expects Stop Out to bring a physical presence with experience.

"They know how to win games and historically they have finished in the top five so they are a strong side and are doing something right."


Stop Out beat newly promoted Integration Works Waterside Karori 2-1 last Saturday and are sitting second on the league table, below the top-placed Blues on an inferior goal difference and just one loss, akin to the visitors.