By Gary Stocks
The long-standing rivalry between North Beach and North Fremantle has built a healthy respect between both clubs, but also has driven a strong desire to win in both camps.
Tomorrow at Charles Riley Reserve the two regular finals combatants will come together for a match that will occur two months before the highest of stakes are on the table, but this qualifying round show-down could carry great significance.
The O’Rourke Realty North Beach unit is nestled in the top four, but would like to be a little more comfortable and a bit higher up the standings than their current position at fourth. To say North Fremantle would also like to be sitting in a better position is also an understatement of high proportion.
The Maggies find themselves in the unfamiliar relegation territory. With just three wins from the opening 10 rounds, North Fremantle is in seventh position, equal on points with Mt Lawley and Maddington.
While Hamersley-Carine sits at the foot of the table, almost certain to return to B-Grade, Mt Lawley, North Fremantle and Maddington are fighting to propel themselves out of the danger zone.
For that reason, the Maggies will have powerful motivation to win and will also head to Charles Riley with belief. One of the club’s three wins came at the expense of the Beach in the first clash at Gil Fraser.
For their part, North Beach can ill-afford to collapse against clubs below them if they aim to finish higher to ensure a double chance come finals, so will desperate to win.
The Tigers will enjoy a healthy injection of experience and class, courtesy of the return of Beau Witheridge, Chris Casey and Josh Bollen and will be hoping to produce its best football on a day when the 2002 premiership team will be hosted at the club.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves have taken all before them this season and remain unconquered, but they have not gone unchallenged. They can expect North Fremantle to throw all they have at them in this clash which promises to be a thrilling precursor to the main event.
While the Tigers have answered every challenge, the Maggies A-Reserves are in the hot pot. They sit in third position with five wins, along with four other combatants, and would see this as an opportunity to push through that congestion.
Again the Beach should field a quality team and will be ready for the contest.
The Nuchange Phil Scott Colts are in danger of losing touch with the top five and will need to conquer some of the team sitting above them if they hope to make up the two-game break between fifth and sixth.
This match presents such an opportunity. When the Beach produces its best football, it is almost irrepressible, but there has been too big a gulf between its best and worst. To beat the second placed Maggies, they will need to bring their “A” game.
The Townley Group D1-Grade will head to Hamer Park confident of securing the points against eighth placed Mt Lawley.
Kane Kuenen has the thirds playing an exciting brand of football and they should have too much class for their opponents.
The Clipstar D1-Reserves have been competitive all season without racking up the wins they would have desired and find themselves sitting at the foot of the premiership table. They have played without luck, but would still expect to be able to throw down the challenge to Mt Lawley, who are in second position.
The Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts cling to finals prospects, although they have had a tough draw in an uneven competition where some clubs play each other three times and others only twice.
The Beach will fancy its chances to put pressure on the top four against Mt Lawley, who sit in eighth position. Just ahead of North Beach are two teams with only one more win, so this is a golden opportunity to push into strong finals contention.
The Pana’s Pool Supplies E2-Grade will host Wesley Curtin at Percy Doyle and this looms as important fixture.
North Beach currently occupies fourth position, but is one of five teams on five wins – including their sixth-placed opponents. So this match is that clichéd eight point game and the boys will be ultra keen for the contest.
ROUND 11 FIXTURES
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach v North Fremantle, 2.30pm Charles Riley Reserve
Credent Financial Services A-Reserve
North Beach v North Fremante, 12.35pm Charles Riley Reserve
Nuchange Phil Scott Colts
North Beach v North Fremantle, 10.45am Charles Riley Reserve
Townley Group D1-Grade
Mt Lawley v North Beach, 2.30pm Hamer Park
Mt Lawley v North Beach, 12.35pm Hamer Park
Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts
Mt Lawley v North Beach, 10.45am Hamer Park
Pana’s Pool Supplies E2-Grade
North Beach v Wesley-Curtin, 2.30pm Percy Doyle Oval
By Gary Stocks