By Gary Stocks
North Beach legend Luke Smith will tomorrow celebrate his 250th game when the Beach hosts newly-elevated club Swan Athletic at Charles Riley Reserve.
Smith, a veteran of nine A-Grade premierships, has this season taken on the mantle as A-Reserves captain and is so far undefeated in that capacity.
Nicknamed “Smooth”, probably as much for his calm demeanour as for his silky skills, Smith is a stalwart of the club who has also contributed a great deal off-field, currently serving on the executive committee as treasurer.
A man who expertly reads the play and distributes the ball to perfection, he was a key element of the defensive rebound which saw the Beach win seven successive titles, before slipping to third in 2011.
Appropriately, on his big day, a couple of other North Beach superstars in Simon Pearce and Chris “Tex” Perkin will also resume. Perkin, dubbed “the king” around Royal Chas Riley, played in 10 premierships and will take the field for the first time this season, while Pearce, who played in nine flags, will resume after a fortnight on the sidelines.
The A-Reserves will be looking to celebrate Smith’s milestone in style, while the A-Grade team will need to return to the winners’ list against Swan Athletic.
Again there have been a number of changes, with Tim and Andrew Langsford, Aaron Jarvis, Josh Bollen and Chris Casey all elevated to the senior team, with a mix of injury and unavailability creating those opportunities.
The best story out of the inclusions is obviously Tim Langsford, who missed all of last season through injury, resumed a few weeks ago and has quickly regained the form which made him one of the club’s emerging defenders.
The North Beach A-Grade team is sitting at two wins and three losses, in sixth position, while Swan Athletic, with just one more win in a tight competition, is in third position. This match looms as a must win game and the Tigers will be hoping for a strong home crowd to carry them to the line.
The Phil Scott Colts also face a must-win game, with finals hopes already starting to fade after a 1-4 start to the season. A tough draw has seen North Beach face all of the leading contenders, but must now start winning to stay in touch.
Claremont-aligned Albany product Nathan Willmott will be welcome addition as the Beach strives to hit the winners’ list.
North Beach faces winning opportunities in all other matches, so this game could hold the key to the day. Unfortunately resources in the colts have been thinned with a number of players opting to head to a concert in a Bunbury.
Round 6 Fixtures
A-GradeNorth Beach v Swan Athletic, 2.30pm at Charles Riley Reserve
North Beach v Swan Athletic, 12.35pm at Charles Riley Reserve
Phil Scott Colts
North Beach v Swan Athletic, 10.45am at Charles Riley Reserve
D-GradeHamersley-Carine v North Beach, 2.30pm at Carine Open Space
Hamersley-Carine v North Beach, 12.35pm at Carine Open Space
Brett Jones Colts
Wesley-Curtin v North Beach, 10.45am at South Oval, Curtin University
Warnbro v North Beach, 2.30pm at Warnbro Sporting Complex
By Gary Stocks