By Gary Stocks
The thing about football, more than most other sports, is that going into battle with a bunch of mates to achieve something as a collective is a great motivator.
When the stakes are high, the arousal levels are intensified. You can sense it, almost touch it.
Against Mt Lawley tomorrow, the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team faces its most critical juncture of the season. It’s the penultimate qualifying round and if the Beach intend to participate in finals there is no other option than to win.
If you can get to Percy Doyle to watch this clash, you will sense the urgency. See the nervous tension. Feel the energy.
Sitting a game out of the top five, North Beach must win this week. And again next week, to have any chance of seeing finals action and the players are excited by the opportunity. With co-captain Beau Witheridge resuming, along with ruckman Alex Hack and Josh McGinnity it is a confident, well-balanced line-up that is poised for action.
When these teams clashed earlier in the season, the Hawks were victorious by a point courtesy of a goal after the siren. They now sit two places behind the Beach with no prospect of playing finals. They also will not face relegation, with Swan Athletic and Whitford poised to drop down to B-Grade.
Therefore, they have little to play for. Other than pride and the chance to at least impact the composition of the top five.
We know the Hawks are a proud club, so they will issue a challenge. The Beach players will need to be ready for that and will be looking to reproduce the silky football that as evident last week in a 103-point drubbing of Whitford.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves will need to win and then rely on other results to sneak into the finals, which is unlikely, while the Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts will be looking to consolidate second position.
While the stakes are high for the A-Grade team, there is no less a carrot for the lower grades who are playing their final qualifying matches of the year.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade and the Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves will need to defeat North Fremantle at Gil Fraser Reserve to clinch top spot and earn a week off for the first round of finals action.
The Brett Jones Colts will be looking to fine-tune for the qualifying final against CBC Fremantle, because their ladder position will not change through tomorrow’s result and they will finish third.
The Express Bins E2-Grade will play Willetton in the last qualifying match tomorrow and will then meet them again the following week in the qualifying final.
This week’s fixtures
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach v Mt Lawley, Percy Doyle Oval, 2.30pm
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach v Mt Lawley, Percy Doyle Oval, 12.35pm
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
North Beach v Mt Lawley, Percy Doyle Oval, 10.40am
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Reserve, 2.30pm
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Reserve, 12.35pm
Brett Jones Colts
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Reserve, 10.40am
Express Bins E2-Grade
North Beach v Willetton, Charles Riley Reserve 2.30pm