By Gary Stocks
A 49-point win in the season opener against 2011 runner-up Mt Lawley to open the new season, has not allowed North Beach to retain that winning formula.
A brace of injuries and a WAFL call-up for forward Dan Leishman, means Bill Duckworth and his brains trust have made four changes to the team to tackle arch rival North Fremantle at Gil Fraser Reserve tomorrow.
Leishman, who trained with Subiaco for the first part of the pre-season, received a call from the Lions and will play reserves on the weekend, while West Perth recruit Josh Pearce, utility player Michael Italiano and midfielder Josh Bollen could not be considered.
Italiano strained a hamstring in the warm-up last Saturday, consigning the Beach to play one short because the injury occurred after team lists had been submitted.
While that talented quartet will be absent, some ready-made replacements loom with Mark Chamberlain being elevated to play his first senior game at the club, along with experienced forward Ben Wilson, midfielder Jon Turner and hard-nosed utility player Jeff Waldock.
All of those players were influential in an outstanding team performance when the A-Reserves opened the season impressively against the Hawks.
Traditionally North Fremantle is strong right through the grades and all three teams travelling to the Magpies’ home ground can expect to meet a challenge.
While Michael Pratt’s reserves team has provided the talent required to fill vacancies in the senior team, the depth within the club means it will cause little disruption down the line.
A-Grade premiership players Josh McGinnity and Steve Bandy will start their 2012 campaigns in the early game, while Marc Welsh, another senior premiership player, and Trevor Lang have also been promoted from the thirds.
The colts teams made an inglorious start and changes have been made across both teams, with Phil Scott Colts captain Aaron Miller absent through a hand injury and a number of other players earning early opportunities.
Tim Grapiglia will play his first game of the season, while Dave Dillon, Ben Fletcher and Harry Byrne will play in the top division for the first time. Shaheed Duke also gets an opportunity after a typically feisty display last week.
Fixtures, Round 2
A-Grade
North Fremantle v North Beach, 2.30pm Gil Fraser Reserve
A-Reserves
North Fremantle v North Beach, 12.35pm Gil Fraser Reserve
Phil Scott Colts
North Fremantle v North Beach, 10.45am Gil Fraser Reserve
D1-Grade
North Beach v Mt Lawley, 2.30pm Charles Riley Reserve
D1-Reserves
North Beach v Mt Lawley, 12.35pm Charles Riley Reserve
Brett Jones Colts
North Beach v Mt Lawley, 10.45am Charles Riley Reserve
E-Grade
Wesley-Curtin v North Beach, 5pm South Oval, Curtin University