Icicles may form on the noses of the players at training, but that does not snuff out the distinctive scent of September in the air at Charles Riley Reserve.
At about this time every year, there is a palpable sense that it’s time to step up. There is an urgency in everything that occurs. A feeling that the preliminaries are coming to an end. It’s time to roll up the sleeves and get down to business.
The club, of course, is well accustomed to preparing for finals football and did not enjoy being eliminated in the preliminary finals in both A-Grade and A-Reserves last year. After seven successive A-Grade premierships, including both senior flags in 2010, it stung to be third last season.
So, with five games remaining, it’s time to build momentum. And what better time than a clash against ladder leader Trinity-Aquinas?
Trinity-Aquinas has been the benchmark for most of the season. Their club is in an outstanding position, at or near the top of the ladder in every grade, so this show-down will be tough. North Beach thrives on tough!
Last week, with a bye across A-Grade, three lower grade teams travelled to Bill Grayden Reserve and were competitive, without winning. This week on North Beach’s dung hill, we want more than to be competitive.
With a top three finish is still attainable, the Beach should lift and produce their best football. In the earlier encounter this season, the Students won by a solitary in a thriller at their Como base.
Key forward Kyle Holden returns for this clash, with James Lee and Jackson Harwood also resuming to add some sting to the attacking bow in the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves have been waiting for this challenge for some time. North Beach is unbeaten at the top of the table and Trinity-Aquinas, has lost just once, in the previous encounter in Como.
At times, the Tigers have looked like they needed a challenge and have been able to dig deep when threatened, but should be upbeat for this match from the outset. A number of key players resuming certainly will not dampen that enthusiasm.
Cale Potts, Simon Pearce, Jeff Waldock, Jacob Griffith and Josh Bubnich all resume to make this one of the stronger combinations in recent weeks. There is a large dose of experience in that group which will be appreciated by the younger corps, who have carried an extra burden of late.
The Nuchange Phil Scott Colts still have designs on a top five finish and while recognising there is much work to be done and a need to beat some teams above them, they will be keen to acquire the competition’s biggest scalp.
Trinity-Aquinas has not been beaten, rarely challenged actually, so the Beach understand the enormity of the task ahead, but will be “up” for it.
The Townley Group D1-Grade will travel to Gil Fraser Reserve for an important clash against arch rivals North Fremantle. While sitting comfortably in second position on the ladder, the Beach will look to bounce back from defeat last Saturday.
Numbers returning to the two senior teams should flow down through the grades.
The Clipstar D1-Reserves are sitting on the bottom of ladder, so every week represents a tough encounter. Generally, they have been competitive, as evidenced by the fact that their percentage is far superior to three clubs sitting above them.
Disappointingly there are not enough ticks in the win column, but they will be looking to take the game up to the Maggies.
The Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts confront second-placed North Fremantle and understand the enormity of the challenge at hand, but have a strong, well-balanced team capable of testing their highly-regarded opponent.
A number of players resuming from the University break and trips away will filter back this week, adding some depth to the team.
The Pana’s Pool Supplies E2-Grade, in the quest for a finals appearance, will tackle lowly Warnbro at Percy Doyle, and will be looking to secure the precious premiership points. There is a glut of teams in the top portion of the ladder with little separating them, so the Beach understands the ramifications of a dropping a game that needs to be banked.
Saturday, July 28
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach v Trinity-Aquinas, 2.30pm Charles Riley Reserve
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach v Trinity-Aquinas, 12.35pm Charles Riley Reserve
Nuchange Phil Scott Colts
North Beach v Trinity-Aquinas, 10.45am Charles Riley Reserve
Townley Group D1-Grade
North Fremantle v North Beach, 2.30pm Gil Fraser Reserve
North Fremantle v North Beach, 12.35pm Gil Fraser Reserve
Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts
North Fremantle v North Beach, 10.45am Gil Fraser Reserve
Pana’s Pool Supplies E2-Grade
North Beach v Warnbro, 2.30pm Percy Doyle Oval