By Gary Stocks
One challenge confronted and conquered. Five more to come.
And the next box to tick is victory against arch rival Whitford in the penultimate round of the WA Amateur Football League season.
As the O’Rourke Realty North Beach A-Grade team begins to eye off the ultimate prize available it is well aware that there is much work to be done over the next six weeks. The first step in that campaign came last week with a fighting two-point victory over University, the club that has anchored to its clubroom walls the 2011 and 2012 premiership pennants.
In securing that victory against the second-placed Students, the Beach took a step closer to a top three finish. But it has not yet been locked away because on the same day Trinity-Aquinas upset top-of-the-ladder Wesley Curtin.
In a tight competition there is no respite and while the Beach is shooting for the best possible finish to the qualifying rounds, from which to launch a finals campaign, others are jockeying to avoid the ninth position on the table, which will see them join Collegians in relegation.
Whitford are in the thick of that battle, but also are still in the hunt for a top five finish which illustrates the competitive nature of the league.
Consistency has been an issue for the Beach, sometimes backing up an outstanding game against quality opposition with a less-than-convincing effort the following week. Coach David Hynes and the playing group is working towards eliminating those troughs.
In preparation for this clash, where victory would assure a top three finish and a double chance come finals, the match committee has made three changes with Matt Power, Andy Langsford and Jacob Griffiths coming into the line-up.
Unfortunately, Alex Billi fractured his collarbone last week and Steve Bandy strained a calf.
Power resumes after being out of town on work commitments last week while Langsford and Griffiths earned their opportunities on the back of some outstanding form with the Credent Financial Services A-Reserves.
The A-Reserves have been outstanding all season and have locked down top place. Their challenge is to sustain the motivation and effort in the next few weeks in the lead-up to the sharp end of the season.
Whitford should not have the required talent to challenge the Beach, but they will need to be on their guard and with places in the finals line-up on the line, that should provide enough motivation to sustain the effort.
The Nuchange Phil Scott Colts are clinging to hope of finals and to have any chance must win the last two games. First time around Whitford provided a fright before the Beach responded, so they know they must be on their game to win this match.
For the lower grades, this is the last round of qualifying games and there is much resting on all games.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade and the Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves will each play North Fremantle in important matches. The D1-Grade are sitting in fifth position and will play the top-of-the-table Magpies while the D1-Reserves appear assured of finals and will be looking to sustain their recent good form.
Unfortunately the Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts will not play finals, but will be looking to finish the year strongly.
The Express Bins E2-Grade play top team Coolbellup and must win to ensure they finish in the five, but can still book a finals position if they lose and other results fall their way.
This week’s fixtures
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Whitford v North Beach, 2.30pm, MacDonald Reserve
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
Whitford v North Beach, 12.35pm, MacDonald Reserve
Nuchange Phil Scott Colts
Whitford v North Beach, 10.45am, MacDonald Reserve
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
North Fremantle v North Beach, 2.30pm, Gil Fraser Reserve
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
North Fremantle v North Beach, 12.35pm, Gil Fraser Reserve
Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts
North Fremantle v North Beach, 10.45am, Gil Fraser Reserve
Express Bins E2-Grade
North Beach v Coolbellup, 2.30pm, Percy Doyle Oval