By Gary Stocks
There’s nothing quite like the spirit of competition to keep the senses aroused in an athlete.
Regardless of the level, those who are wired competitors, are keen to win. They do what they can to prepare themselves to achieve that and then do all within their power to fulfil the victory ambition on game day.
We see it at AFL level, with the likes of Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis. He’s a humble local bloke who knows he’s not the most talented player in the AFL, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who does more to get the absolute best of himself.
There are players in the WAFL who are similarly committed and at amateur level it’s the same. Of course there are degrees to which community-level players can commit to preparation, with that capacity compromised by earning a living or studying.
At North Beach, there are blokes like Beau Witheridge, Sammy Lamont, Ben Sweeney, Mitch Dwyer and Michael Italiano, to name a few. They work hard to represent the club every Saturday in the manner that the club expects.
They put it on the line every time they cross the boundary, not for the financial rewards on offer elsewhere and at higher levels, but for the honour of playing for North Beach and in honour of those who have previously played for the club, thus creating a remarkable culture.
That is why, when they score a victory like they did against Fremantle CBC last week, it is euphoric. As a team they represented the club with pride and produced a nail-biting one-point victory.
But that week has gone and another challenge looms large in the form of arch rival North Fremantle. The Maggies are equally proud and will be fierce at Gil Fraser Reserve. North Beach must match them.
In this match the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team is playing to both survive and flourish. The nature of this competition means there is always something on the line. You are either playing to compete in finals or to remain in the top tier competition.
Both North Beach and North Fremantle are playing for both. Sitting seventh and eighth respectively, it is still possible to play finals. More likely it is to remain in A-Grade, but finals, if results fall a particular way can still be achieved.
The Beach has included some experience and hardness through the elevation of multiple premiership wingman Steve Bandy and midfielder Dion Cownie and they will be important ingredients against the Maggies.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves will be looking to consolidate second position on the ladder when they confront North Fremantle, who sit in fifth place. There have been a number of changes made by the Beach, forced through injury and illness, but they should still have the class to squeeze past a respected opponent.
The same could be said of the Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts, who sit in second position and the Maggies who are sixth. The Beach should carry too much firepower and won’t want to stumble as the run to the finals begins.
While the A-Grade teams will have their battles at Gil Fraser, some intriguing matches loom at Charles Riley Reserve.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade, which sits in second position, will play Trinity Aquinas (top) for the third time this season and the second time in three weeks. Last time around the margin was less than a kick after the Beach made a slow start.
Bill Duckworth will be looking for his boys to jump out of the blocks and apply pressure from the outset.
In the Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves clash it is a similar situation, although it is second versus third – with only percentage separating them. While they are both likely to secure a top three position by season’s end and an all-important double chance, a psychological advantage should not be underestimated.
The Red Hill Brett Jones Colts (third) play Trinity Aquinas (sixth) and that looms as another interesting challenge.
The Express Bins E1-Grade, desperately trying to keep alive finals aspirations, will confront the tough task of combatting East Fremantle at Winnacott Reserve. The Beach is sitting in sixth place and will probably lose touch with the leading pack if they cannot get over the line in this one.
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Reserve, 2.30pm
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Reserve, 12.35pm
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Reserve, 10.40am
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
North Beach v Trinity Aquinas, Charles Riley Reserve, 2.30pm
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
North Beach v Trinity Aquinas, Charles Riley Reserve, 12.35pm
Red Hill Brett Jones Colts
North Beach v Trinity Aquinas, Charles Riley Reserve, 10.40am
Express Bins E1-Grade
East Fremantle v North Beach, Winnacott Reserve, 2.30pm