By Gary Stocks
The furnace that is the WA Amateur Football League mid-season competition will be turned up even further when the O’Rourke Realty North Beach A-Grade team steps onto Hamer Park tomorrow for a show-down with 2011 runners-up Mt Lawley.
It seems that almost every week the stakes are raised, particularly with the concertina of clubs condensing in the mid-section of the senior premiership table.
The Beach has responded of late, but consolidation will be the key message around this match, with the chance to shore up a position in the top four, should victory be achieved.
Coming off one of the best performances of the season in despatching Whitford last week, the indicators are that North Beach is starting to mesh into the formidable unit it threatened to be before the start of the season.
With an influx of players from various parts of the nation, there was no question that the depth of the talent pool had grown enormously, but bringing those individual capacities into a team-based performance took time. But last week it seemed the team chemistry showed signs of meshing.
Stability remains an issue, with a handful of changes once again, but the return of Kyle Holden and Josh Bollen, as well as the debut of Sam Palm, should have a positive effect.
North Beach now occupies fourth position, while victory would drive a deeper wedge to seventh placed Mt Lawley.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves have taken all before them this season and have answered every challenge to be unbeaten atop the premiership table.
But the challengers are lining up and Mt Lawley is sure to throw up a significant contest. After recruiting solidly in recent weeks the Hawks have added depth and class to their line-up so the Beach is aware this could be a tough afternoon.
The Nuchange Phil Scott Colts have breathed life into their season with consecutive wins, but will need to take that a step further against Mt Lawley. Victory here would certainly put the colts right in the running for a finals position.
Currently the Tigers are in sixth position with four wins, while Mt Lawley is a game and a half ahead in fifth spot. Clearly a Beach victory, the chances of which are enhanced by the return of Nathan Willmott, Kade Golisano and Michael Hutchings, would add some spice to the run home.
At Charles Riley Reserve, the Townley Group D1-Grade will confront Whitford in a game of some consequence.
Second-placed North Beach hosts fourth-placed Whitford in a game which will not only have some influence on finals prospects, but also the positions within the top four at season’s end.
North Beach is coming off a solid win against North Fremantle and would like to consolidate the victory.
The Clipstar D1-Reserves have been playing well without reward, but have a gold-plated opportunity to lift-themselves off the bottom of the ladder. Whitford is just one position above them on the table and if they play as they have done in patches over recent weeks, they should secure win No.2.
The Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts face a tough challenge against Fremantle CBC, but have selected a team capable of causing the upset they are seeking to push towards finals.
The BJs are in sixth position and clash with their third-placed opponents, who have been one of the standard bearers in the competition.
The Pana’s Pool Supplies E2 Grade will complete the club’s duties with a game against Cockburn Lakes under lights at Anning Park.
The fifth-grade has been competitive all season and after a tough challenge against the ladder leader last week should enjoy this opportunity against their lower ranked opponent.