• Rovers striker hopes brains will rule today

Rovers striker hopes brains will rule today

Suggest to Napier City Rovers Central League football side's veteran striker Josh Stevenson he is in hot form and you get the thumbs up.

"Five goals from as many games is my best tally for a long time," Stevenson (pictured above) replied.

The popular 32-year-old police sergeant who made his debut for Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers 17 years ago is also happy with how the third placed team is performing as a unit.

"Considering how we were struggling to find players with the Covid-19 pandemic making it tough to secure overseas players we are doing well. We were pretty unlucky with last week's 2-1 loss to Wellington Olympic," Stevenson explained.

"We're only going to get better with the young players we have coming through. The young ones don't have any bad habits and it's easier to get them used to the culture," Stevenson said in the countdown to today's sixth round clash against Lower Hutt City at Fraser Park.

Getting back to his hot form, Stevenson, said he couldn't attribute this to his police work like he could in his younger days.

"I've got a more desk orientated supervisor's role these days and it's hard to maintain my fitness. I can't always make trainings and if things pop up at work it can be hard to balance those commitments with the football stuff."

He is expecting Lower Hutt City to be fit and well drilled.

"It will be a battle of our brains over their fitness. While they are not entirely results driven they will stick to a game plan and will be tough," Stevenson said.
"We have to give it a really good crack and we have to win," he added.  

Rovers head coach and centre back Bill Robertson was hoping forward Ben Wade and utility Zac Madsen would shake off their respective groin and ankle injuries in time for the match. They were the only injury concerns this week.

Like Stevenson, Robertson, stressed the importance of a win for the visitors today.

"Every game is crucial now. It's a tight table this season."

Robertson pointed out that while Lower Hutt City are mid-table their association with the Wellington Phoenix Academy means they are a fit, strong and youthful side.   

The full Napier City Rovers squad for today's 3pm clash:
Oscar Mason (GK), Liam Schofield, Luca Barclay, Isaac Belcher, Tai Barham, Sam Wall, Cam Emerson, Zac Madsen, Kailan Gould, Ethan Ladd, Josh Stevenson, Jim Hoyle (captain), Fergus Neil, Luke Minshull, Bill Robertson, Ben Wade, Reon Werahiko (GK).