By Gary Stocks
The run to the wire is getting hotter every week. Nothing can be taken for granted and as the finals loom large on the horizon, to take one’s eye off the weekly challenge is fraught with danger.
It is folly to look at the possible permutations of each weekly fixture and to ponder the impact of them before those games are played. It might be fourth versus 10th, as we have at Charles Riley Reserve today, but victory is not guaranteed.
The only certainty in the WA Amateur Football League with three rounds remaining in the A-Grade competition is that the opponent for the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team, Hamersley Carine, will finish at the foot of the table and are destined to return to B-Grade in 2013.
All other positions are up for grabs. There is keen competition between Maddington and North Fremantle, who are desperately trying to avoid the journey to the second tier, while the composition of the top five, let alone positions within that group, remains in the air.
North Beach is still a chance to claim third spot – indeed it is possible for the Tigers to occupy that spot this evening – but let’s avoid the temptation of pencilling in victories here or there, because it can all change dramatically.
The Beach can control only that within its own perimeters. And that is its own performance.
The last time they played Hamersley-Carine it required a significant last quarter surge to get over the line and that fright should remain fresh in the minds of the players.
The Beach has continued to inject youth into the line-up, with Liam Vardy and Ned Melvin set to debut while rebounding defender Alex Billi, who has played a handful of games, gets another opportunity.
The pathway to senior football for Vardy has been rapid. He started last season in the club’s fifth grade side and has gradually worked his way up the ranks.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves will face a challenge against the much improved Hamersley-Carine, who, since being beaten by the Beach in the earlier encounter, have tested some highly-regarded opponents.
To date, Michael Pratt’s team is unbowed and doubtless he would like that situation maintained until the finals assault. They play slick, team-oriented football and would like to use the next three weeks to be in prime form for the September action.
The Nuchange Phil Scott Colts allowed an opportunity to slip last week when four goals up early in the last quarter against Swan Athletic and then failing to finish the deal. They will also remember a costly defeat against this opposition in the first encounter, a loss which probably sunk the finals hopes.
The colts will be spectators when others are fighting for a flag and that should sting a very talented group. Today, though, it’s about getting back into the winners’ circle and starting a run of positive results in the home stretch.
The Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts are hanging by a fingernail to a top four finish and if they can topple Fremantle CBC, could sneak through the back door into the finals series.
This competition has three outstanding teams and CBC is one of them, but the Nortgh Beach boys are capable of causing a major upset.
The Townley Group D1-Grade will play in the qualifying final in a fortnight from now regardless of result, but will be hoping to account for Whitford regardless.
Having lost successive games against North Fremantle and Trinity Aquinas before returning to the winners’ list last week, Kane Kuenen will be keen to establish winning patterns in the lead up to the real business.
The Clipstar D1-Reserves also have much to aim for despite being out of finals contention. They sit in seventh position but can leapfrog Whitford with a victory in this encounter.
Pana’s Pool Supplies E2-Grade will continue to build towards a finals appearance when it hosts Wanneroo at Percy Doyle Reserve and victory in this match would virtually secure a top three finish and the crucial double chance.
Saturday, August 11
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach v Hamersley-Carine, 2.30pm Charles Riley Reserve
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach v Hamersley-Carine, 12.35pm Charles Riley Reserve
Nuchange Phil Scott Colts
North Beach v Hamersley-Carine, 10.45am Charles Riley Reserve
Townley Group D1-Grade
Whitford v North Beach, 2.30pm, Forrest Park
Whitford v North Beach, 12.35pm, Forrest Park
Pana’s Pool Supplies E2-Grade
North Beach v Wanneroo, 2.30pm Percy Doyle Oval
Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts
Fremantle CBC v North Beach, 10.45am Morris Buzzacott Reserve
By Gary Stocks