By Gary Stocks
North Beach senior coach David Hynes is confident the club is in a strong position to launch into the second half of the season having laid solid foundations in virtually every grade.
As the WA Amateur Football League heads into a bye this weekend, the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team sits in third place, just behind the pace being set by Wesley-Curtin and University, while the Credent Financial Services A-Reserves are unbeaten after the first seven rounds.
The Nuchange Phil Scott Colts have also found unity in the last month, winning their last three matches on end and frittering away an opportunity the previous game against Wesley-Curtin. The colts are starting to play at the level required and are gaining an understanding of the game plan.
The Townley Group D1-Grade, Clipstar D1-Reserves and Pana’s Pool Supplies E2-Grade, have, at times, produced some irresistible football, but have been slightly inconsistent which could be attributed to the flow-on effect of regular personnel changes in the grades above.
The Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts have also played with flair on occasions, but have not been able to back it up consistently.
The five senior grades are all in the top five while both colts teams are sitting in seventh position, just one victory away from fifth position.
“It has been a solid start to the season across all grades,” Hynes said. “It is very pleasing to have all teams in strong finals contention and we firmly believe we will finish the season stronger than we started in most grades.
“From an A-Grade perspective we always expected that it would take time to adjust to a different game plan and at times in the first two months we have played some great team footy when it has clicked.
“We expect that in the second half of the season it will click for longer periods and that we will be more consistent at the back end of the season. Already 31 players have been exposed to senior football this season and that is an indication of the pressure coming from the grades below for opportunities.
“The A-Reserves are undefeated and have been playing some terrific football. Where possible we have tried to reward that good form by providing opportunities in the seniors.”
Players like Michael Italiano, Rob McComiksie, Andrew Langsford and Ben Wilson are among those who banged down the selection door courtesy of their A-Reserves form and all have performed well in A-Grade.
With players, including Josh Bollen, Matt O’Donnell, Andrew Nunan and Michael Taylor working back into fitness and form after delayed or interrupted starts to the season, the pressure on selection will remain.
In addition key midfielders Kyle Riemann, James Lee and Matt Power will likely resume after the bye when the club host University, so things are getting tight and no player can afford to see their form fdrop away.
It certainly creates a healthy, competitive environment and supports Hynes’ view that the club is looking to create some impetus in the second half of the season.
Training last night reflected the thirst for opportunities and the drive to push hard in the second half of the season, with a healthy number of senior players on the track despite the bye.
The club also takes great pride in the selection of Josh Stott and Italiano in the West Coast Eagles State under-23 team. Lee would also have made that team, but has missed the past two games through injury.