Preparations for the A-grade title defence are stepping up, with the senior squad progressing strongly through pre-season.

North Beach, enjoying a wonderful era in amateur ranks, having won the last four A-grade premierships, has had an average of around 80 senior players on the track since the colts squad moved to its own training slot.

And coach Bill Duckworth could not be happier.

“We have been very happy with the pre-season program,” Duckworth said during a break from training at Charles Riley Reserve last night. “Numbers have been good for the four senior sides and competition for places in the
A-grade team will be intense.

“We have managed to recruit pretty well, while keeping the core of our premiership team together. Everyone at the club is very excited about the coming season.”

Duckworth would doubtless have been pleased with the skill level displayed at training last night, with premiership stars like Mitch and Scott Holbrook, Kyle Reimann, Luke Smith, Scott Ward and Shane Paap all looking in good shape.

In addition to those established stars, there are a number of players pressing for early opportunities, including several Victorian recruits and a host of graduates from last year’s colts team.

It has been integral to the Duckworth philosophy to promote young talent from within and some of those players from the colts squad of the last couple of years are sure to get chances in pre-season matches to press for selection in round one.

Players like Beau Witheridge, Quinlan and David Green were given a taste of senior football last year while Andrew Langsford, Marc Welsh, Cale Potts, Josh Schmook and Matt Bajars are exciting young prospects currently training with the senior squad.

The club has two practice matches locked in – one against Willetton on March 29 and then against South West powerhouse, South Bunbury. Both games should produce stern tests for the squad and provide an ideal preparation to launch the premiership defence.