By Gary Stocks
Veteran wingman Steve ”Thumper” Bandy will celebrate his 200th game on a day when North Beach faces yet another critical encounter at Percy Doyle Oval tomorrow.
Bandy, a five-time premiership star at the Beach, played a significant role in the back end of the Duckworth era and will now be looking to have an impact under second-year coach David Hynes.
The Beach is delicately positioned at this juncture in the season, sitting in fourth position, but just one win ahead of eighth-placed Trinity-Aquinas. And one win behind second-placed Wesley Curtin.
The concertina effect of the ladder is that every week is significant. There is no respite and with the Beach confronting Kalamunda tomorrow, it is a game where the ramifications of winning and losing are profound.
Bandy, a leader within the playing group, will be looking to ensure North Beach gets away to a good start. When these teams first met, in round two at Kalamunda, the Cougars got away to a flyer so the Beach will need to keep them in check, particularly in the first quarter.
While Bandy will play his 200th game, one of his closest mates, Josh McGinnity is not available, opening the door for the possible return of Jordan Webster or Sascha Kernutt while ruckman Alex Hack returns to replace the injured Michael Schofield.
With several absences and a few injuries, the depth of the senior squad has been tested, particularly in the Credent Financial Services A-Reserves who have suffered consecutive defeats as a result.
They will be keen to rebound on a day when a number of colts players could be elevated to give them some exposure at senior level.
The Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts are tracking along nicely and will be looking to shore up their second position on the ladder against the Cougars.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade will pit the undefeated North Beach combination against the win-less Kalamunda at Ray Owen Reserve and a similar situation exists in the Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves, where first will play last and there could not be a greater contrast in the win-loss records for 2014.
The Express Bins E2-Grade will confront West Coast Cowan at Charles Riley Reserve, in front of the ever-evolving new facility which is being constructed by the City of Stirling.
The Brett Jones Colts, who sit third on the table, will look to consolidate their position when they play Collegians at Dalkeith Oval.
It is a day where significant challenges will be on offer and the Beach will be looking to respond accordingly across all seven grades.
Saturday, June 28
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach v Kalamunda, Percy Doyle Oval, 2.30pm
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach v Kalamunda, Percy Doyle Oval, 12.35pm
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
North Beach v Kalamunda, Percy Doyle Oval, 10.40am
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
Kalamunda v North Beach, Ray Owen Reserve, 2.30pm
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
Kalamunda v North Beach, Ray Owen Reserve, 12.35pm
Brett Jones Colts
Collegians v North Beach, Dalkeith Oval, 10.40am
Express Bins E2-Grade
North Beach v West Coast Cowan, Charles Riley Reserve, 2.30pm