By Gary Stocks
Past history will be embraced as current teams aim to create some unique memories of their own when North Beach seeks to test itself against the A-Grade benchmark of the past couple of years at Charles Riley Reserve on Saturday.
University, winner of the past two A-Grade titles, is sitting in second place on the 2013 premiership table, just one percentage point above the Beach and the Tigers are keen to claim a big scalp as the competition swings into the second half of the year.
As it hosts the students at Chas Riley, the club will focus strongly on doing what it needs to on-field, but there will also be a palpable sense of recognising the past and legacy that has been left behind.
The 1993 team, which played a significant role in creating a highly respected club, will celebrate their 20th reunion in the marquee on the hill, adjacent to clubrooms which will soon be no longer. The large majority of those players will be in attendance and commemorative guernseys, which the past players have purchased, will be presented and then worn by the current team.
The 1993 team – and those associated with the club at that time – did much to create the environment at Charles Riley Reserve that so many have since enjoyed. They paved the way for the on-field success that followed, with 10 senior premierships coming under the tutelage of the great Bill Duckworth.
Game plans and structures have changed over the past 20 years, players and supporters have come and gone, but one thing that will never wane is the spirit of North Beach. It will abound on Saturday, manifested in the team of ‘93 as one generation celebrates the next.
The word “culture” is thrown around liberally these days, but you ingest it at the Beach as you wander through the dilapidated club doors.
The venue is old and tired and needs to be replaced. But it is, to some extent, so symbolic of our club. It will be a sad day when the building is bowled over and as many tears will drop as beers have been spilled into the (now) multi-coloured carpet.
Lavish it is not, but the humble rooms hold so many precious memories – many of which will be recanted on the verandah, in the marquee and in the quaint old rooms themselves – during the course of an afternoon as important as any in this season.
Hopefully senior coach David Hynes and his men give rise to a toast or two of their own, further reason to celebrate a joyous reunion.
The coaching staff and players understand the enormity of the challenge against the competition’s new trend setter and will be anxious to leave an impression against the quality outfit that is University.
It has the capacity to do so, there is no question of that, but they are aware they must bring their “A” game to achieve such a result.