By Gary Stocks
It’s a rare event for a football club to go through a season without the odd speed bump. It’s a question of making sure that little hurdle does not fester and grow into anything more significant.
There’s no question the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade North Beach outfit hit a hump in the road last Saturday, surrendering a golden opportunity to build momentum into the season when it squandered a six-goal quarter-time lead to fall into the abyss of defeat against Kelmscott.
Sometimes, it’s not even the defeat that stings, it’s the manner in which it is achieved. On both counts it cut deeply last Saturday. The loss against a struggling opponent, at Charles Riley Reserve after establishing a significant advantage burns.
But what is done, is done. Not for the first time this season, it’s now about how the team responds.
The Beach will play neighbour Hamersley Carine at Percy Doyle Oval in a game which carries high stakes. And the Tigers will be looking to reproduce their best form. There is no question their best is more than good enough, but that form has been sporadic.
Senior coach David Hynes and his match committee responded at selection on Thursday night, opening the door for several emerging young stars to get an opportunity. Adam Swain, a tenacious on-baller, young ruckman Andrew Doyle and emerging forward Liam Spencer all get their chance.
For Spencer and Swain they will make their A-Grade debuts and it is due recognition of their commitment and performance with the Lifenet A-Reserves. It also illustrates the pathway that young players will be rewarded for their form.
Hamersley Carine earned promotion to the A-Grade competition after a brilliant finals performance last year. They responded to the pressure of playing consecutive cut-throat finals and upset more fancied opponents to win the premiership.
The Beach will need to treat them with great respect because they are a dangerous opposition.
The A-Grade team now sits at 2-3 after five rounds and this is an opportunity to balance the ledger. Meanwhile, the Lifenet A-Reserves have been in spectacular form and will be looking to maintain that standing.
With Scott Holbrook away, Josh Stott will make his coaching debut and has at his disposal is an exciting list of talent. There is a neat mix of youth an experience in that team which, like most teams this week, has been shaped to some extent by players who last week opted to go to a concert in the south-west.
That has generally seen them drop a grade for at least a week and those who have taken their places will be looking to maximise their chance and retain that position.
The colts group has again been exceptional this season and the Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts will aim to kick things off on a positive note against Hamersley. The ground is familiar to the Beach, having played there while the Charles Riley facility was being upgraded, so it should hold no perils.
The Red Hill Brett Jones Colts will kick off the action at Charles Riley when they confront University, their conqueror in last year’s Grand Final.
To this stage the Brett Jones Colts have not yet tasted defeat, but they do understand that playing University is always a challenge – particularly at Colts level.
Last week the Hybrid Linings D1-Grade made 11 changes – this week it is an even dozen. Despite the changes in personnel they have sustained their football and have been ultra-consistent. They, too, will confront University, along with the Coast to Coast Imports D1-Reserves.
There will be a veritable smorgasbord of football on offer at the club’s home ground, with both the Express Bins D2-Grade and the Fusion D2-Reserves playing Wanneroo.
Fixtures, Round 6
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Hamersley Carine v North Beach, Percy Doyle Oval, 2.30pm
Hamersley Carine v North Beach, Percy Doyle Oval, 12.35pm
Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
Hamersley Carine v North Beach, Percy Doyle Oval, 10.40am
Hybrid Linings D1-Grade
North Beach v University, Charles Riley Reserve, 2.30pm
Coast to Coast Imports D1-Reserves
North Beach v University, Charles Riley Reserve, 12.35pm
Red Hill Brett Jones Colts
North Beach v University, Charles Riley Reserve, 10.40am
Express Bins D2-Grade
North Beach v Wanneroo, Charles Riley Reserve, 2.30pm
North Beach v Wanneroo, Charles Riley Reserve, 12.35pm