By Gary Stocks
North Beach is preparing for its toughest challenge of the season when it combats Wesley Curtin at South Oval tomorrow.Wesley Curtin, promoted from B Grade last season, boasts an outstanding assembly of midfield talent including former Richmond and Perth star Mark Coughlan as well as East Fremantle and Subiaco running machine Conor Davidson.Combined with a handful of other players with significant WAFL experience, the Beach is aware they represent a quality outfit, which has been evident in the early season results where they are undefeated in the opening three rounds.
They have been handsome winners in all three matches and are the early season premiership favourites.
The Beach, however, has played some outstanding football in the opening three rounds and look forward to the challenge of confronting the initial competition pace-setter.
Coming into the team this week are experienced defender Jamie Sajich, wingman Steve Bandy and utility player Michael Italiano. They come in at the expense of Ned Melvin (concussion), Christian Bottechia (Subiaco) and Reece Burns, who is unlucky to lose his place.
Sajich has made a late start to the seasons because of his cricket commitments, but stood out in the A-Reserves victory over Mt Lawley last Saturday while Bandy resumes after missing last week and Italiano has been bashing down the selection door after three quality performances in the reserves.
The club takes on Wesley Curtin in six grades and both clubs sit prominently on the ladders of most of those competitions.
The A Reserves should also present an interesting contest, with a number of quality inclusions in that team – including talented defender Matt Irvine, who missed last week’s A-Grade match because he was in Melbourne, tough utility player Reece Cunningham and midfielder/forward Burns.
Also included are ruckman Liam Vardy and midfielder Jacob Carmody while a couple of players squeezed out include Riley Carter and Craig Hall, both of whom have been in pretty good touch but the quality of players available has squeezed them out.
The depth of talent within the club is extraordinary, so much so that Jacob Griffiths, who was also in Melbourne last weekend, will come back via the D1-Grade, which has started the season in scintillating form.
Round 4 Fixtures
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Wesley Curtin v North Beach, 2.30pm South Oval
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
Wesley Curtin v North Beach, 12.35pm South Oval
Nuchange Phil Scott Colts
Wesley Curtin v North Beach, 10.45am, South Oval
Townley Group D1-Grade
North Beach v Wesley Curtin, 2.30pm Charles Riley Reserve
North Beach v Wesley Curtin , 12.35pm Charles Riley Reserve
Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts
North Beach v Wesley Curtin, 10.45am Charles Riley Reserve
Pana’s Pool Supplies E2-Grade
North Beach v Fremantle CBC, 2.30pm Percy Doyle Oval