By Gary Stocks
On a weekend when the Carlton Mid Derby is dominating news services, another local scrap in the A-Grade competition of the WA Amateur Football League will attract plenty of interest in the northern suburbs.
Needing to consolidate a position in the top five, the O’Rourke Realty North Beach seniors this week confronts neighbouring club Hamersley-Carine, in an important show-down at Carine Open Space at 2.30pm on Saturday.
While the Beach has moved into fourth position with an even split of wins and losses in the first six rounds, coach Bill Duckworth will be looking to secure four premiership points to get ahead of the ledger for the first time since round one.
Again the seniors have been forced into some change, with six inclusions for this encounter. Hard-nosed midfielders Matt Power and Josh Bollen lead the list, with experienced defender Reece Cunningham, utility player Daniel Leishman, half-back Adrian Clark and newcomer Chris Thompson getting an opportunity.
Thompson, originally from the Bendigo Bombers, is a solid midfielder with strong running capacity.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves, unconquered on top of the ladder, have answered every challenge and look in good shape for this match with a number of quality players filtering back after the changes to the A-Grade structure.
Multiple premiership wingman Steve Bandy, young defender Alex Billi, midfielder Kris Hackett and key position player Cale Potts have all been sent back to enhance ground time and impact. The A-Reserves team would seriously challenge many of the senior teams in the competition.
The Nuchange Phil Scott Colts will also be looking to consolidate in a match against ninth placed Hamersley-Carine. After a solid win last week against Swan Athletic, the Beach will need to win this match to remain in touch with the top five.
Currently in sixth position with just two wins, this is an opportunity to edge closer and the case will be assisted by the return of several colts players from Claremont, with a general bye in the WAFL.
At nearby Charles Riley Reserve, the D1 D1-Reserves and Brett Jones Colts face the typically challenging assignment of confronting North Fremantle.
The depth at the club has been an area of significant improvement in 2012 and this should hold the Beach in good stead against an opposition that traditionally boasts a deep talent pool and has had the wood over their rivals in recent seasons.
There is, however, a high level of optimism for this weekend’s encounters. In the Townley Group D1 Grade North Beach is in second position, just above North Fremantle on percentage, while the Clipstar D1 Reserves have been consistently close without getting over the line.
The Tuck Plumbing Fixtures Brett Jones Colts lost by an agonising single point against Wesley-Curtin last Saturday and are in danger of slipping out of reach of the top teams if they cannot overcome the Maggies in this contest.
The colts depth and talent has improved since these sides met earlier in the season and they will be keen to account for a team placed higher on the ladder. North Beach sits in fifth position while North Fremantle is third.
The Pana’s Pool Care E2 Grade is sticking along nicely in second position on the table, although the top four sides are all equal on 16 points. There are then two clubs on 12 points in a tight competition and North Beach will host one of those teams, Ocean Ridge, at Percy Doyle.
Round 7 Fixtures
Hamersley-Carine v North Beach, 2.30pm at Carine Open Space
A-ReservesHamersley-Carine v North Beach, 12.35pm at Carine Open Space
Phil Scott Colts
Hamersley-Carine v North Beach, 10.45am at Carine Open Space
North Beach v North Fremantle, 2.30pm at Charles Riley Reserve
North Beach v North Fremantle, 12.35pm at Charles Riley Reserve
Brett Jones Colts
North Beach v North Fremantle, 10.45am at Charles Riley Reserve
North Beach v Ocean Ridge, 2.30pm at Percy Doyle
By Gary Stocks