An A-League contract is the light at the end of the tunnel for every NPL battler, but has Newcastle Jets frontman Kaine Sheppard uncovered a traversable route?
It's the catch-call of nearly every A-League club: 'Get us an experienced, physical frontman with a bit of nous. Someone who's been around the block a few times, can take a knock and, crucially, never stops trying.'
As you look across the league, this pattern is clear.
Ola Toivonen and Kenny Athiu at Melbourne Victory, Ken Ilso (and potentially George Blackwood) at Adelaide United, Matt Simon at Central Coast Mariners, Oriol Riera at Western Sydney Wanderers, Cillian Sheridan at Wellington Phoenix.
Increasingly, the A-League is the land of the giants or giant-hitters. Enter Kaine Sheppard, a former NPL star now A-League star at Newcastle Jets.
While there's certainly more to the 25-year-old Englishman than just his bulky 190 centimetre frame, the fact he doesn't mind throwing his body around has certainly assisted his professional acclimatisation.
It's a trait he showed once again last night, taking a knock that left his head covered in blood, before wrapping it up with blue tape and going on to score the winner in the F3 Derby.
Not a bad return for someone who just signed their first professional contract.
"It's great, I learn a lot throughout the week in training," he mused after the game.
"During the game we push each other. We're playing quick football around the box so you can make mistakes, but it's great to have a squad that can come in and play well."
Increasingly, even A-League strikers without an imposing stature tend to be physically robust and combative (read: Andy Keogh, Roy O'Donovan, Kwame Yeboah). The Henriques of Australian football are few and far between.
Partly it's a money issue, with the A-League's inability to attract footballers from South America and Asia already established.
But the 'big man up front' is also a time-tested solution for shoestring budgets - silky skills can be costly and inconsistent, while Matt Simon's always Matt Simon.
It's worth noting this isn't reflected in the A-League scoring charts. Despite the shift towards physical strikers, only one of the top 10 goal scorers this season are over six foot tall.