Step up or step down?

By Gary Stocks
North Beach senior coach David Hynes is something of a football aficionado.  A man who is familiar with the history of the game and some of the more poignant moments.

He drew on that sense of great occasions at training on Tuesday night when quoting legendary Hawthorn coach John Kennedy throwing up the analogy that there comes a time in a season, in a game, where you reach the crossroads.

‘You either step up, or you step down,’ were the words famously uttered by the great football sage.

And Hynes was imploring his O’Rourke Realty A-Grade charges to recognise the fork in the road to the 2013 season. It is time to step up!

Having dropped the game against Fremantle CBC last Saturday, there is some subtle pressure attached to holding down a top three position over the closing three rounds. The Beach will need to step up to the challenge in order to lock in a top three finish to earn the all-important double chance in the finals.

That starts tomorrow against the highly rated University, the club that has won the last two A-Grade premierships.

Hynes, his coaching staff and the players know they have the game plan to succeed, but it must be applied with discipline and purpose.

This clash will see the return of experienced midfielders Steve Bandy and Kyle Riemann while younger players Alex Billi and Keegan Knott will also get an opportunity against the Students at McGillivray Oval.

University remain the competition benchmark under former East Perth and Claremont midfielder Luke Dwyer. But the Beach has trained with enthusiasm and determination this week, so hopefully that attitude is transferred from the training track to match day.         

The Credent Financial Services have virtually secured top spot, holding a two-game and healthy percentage advantage over its nearest rival, so the last three rounds are all about sustaining a style of football that will carry them deep into the finals series.

University sits in fourth position on the ladder, so there is a chance they will confront them at the sharp end of the season and a statement will need to be made tomorrow.

With Kris Hackett, Andrew Nunan and Micky Bryan among the inclusions, the Beach will field a formidable combination in this clash.

The Nuchange Phil Scott Colts remain with finals hopes and confront top team University, which represents a significant challenge. Even with defeat, the Beach can work into the final five with winnable matches in the last two rounds.

Just the same, victory here would put them in a powerful position as they chase down Wesley Curtin and Trinity-Aquinas, who play each other tomorrow.

There will be challenges all round for the club, with the Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade, Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves and Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts hosting neighbourhood rival Whitfdord at Percy Doyle in important fixtures/

The Express Bins E2-Grade will clash with Stirling at Richard Guelfi Reserve.