Reece Cunningam (centre) with Josh Bollen and Dean Brennan after last year’s premiership.
By Gary Stocks
North Beach bounced back into the top three of the A-Grade competition with a convincing victory over northern suburbs rival Whitford last Saturday.
Solid throughout and winning every quarter, the Beach posted an impressive 41-point victory, perhaps the best four-quarter team effort of the season.
Led by veterans Reece Cunningham and Ben Heap through the midfield, in conjunction with Mitch Dwyer, who enjoyed his return to senior football, the Beach held sway throughout and eventually carved out a 15.10 to 8.11 victory.
With Cunningham, Heap and Dwyer getting plenty of the ball and delivering it forward, Ben Wilson and Cale Potts enjoyed the opportunities up forward while wingman Steve Bandy was also prominent throughout.
The A-Grade victory capped a good day for the Beach at Charles Riley Reserve, following on from important triumphs in the Phil Scott Colts division and the A-Reserves.
The A-Reserves were weakened by the absence of a number of senior players and made a remarkable recovery, eventually winning by 28 points after trailing by a similar margin mid-game. It was a grinding and impressive win, largely manufactured by the exploits of ultra-consistent defender Kent Traeger and Daniel Leishman, at the other end of the ground, who relished his first opportunity in the twos.
President David Cassidy also resumed in the ruck after a stop-start season through injury while Matt Irvine also added to a consistent season which has him knocking on the door of senior selection.
The Phil Scott Colts pocketed consecutive wins in a hard-fought 14-point victory over Whitford. Again wasteful in front of goal the final margin did not reflect dominance in general play and when Whitford scored the first goal of the final quarter, to edge within two points, the Beach were on edge.
The players responded, put their bodies in and won some important contested football. In that regard, Ryan Antonelli set a wonderful example with strong support also coming from Mitch Clarke and Tim Grapiglia, while Evan Miller was outstanding in the ruck.
Up forward Chris Mead worked tirelessly with Jordan Kickett and Mark Foreman while defensively Ben Sweeny continued his strong run of form along with Gus Barwick who shut down a dangerous opponent and also rebounded the footy with great effect.
With so many senior players unavailable, the D1 Grade suffered the brunt and despite their best efforts could not match the class of Fremantle CBC, eventually going down by 78 points.
Against one of the most accomplished teams in the competition, the Beach could not contain their rampant opponents despite the best endeavours of players like Luke Rhatigan, Chris Seeds and Simon Ongley.
In the D-Reserves, North Beach took control from the outset, built the lead through the day and then scored an emphatic 29-pioint victory over Fremantle CBC – 9.11 (65) to 5.6 (36).
Hayden French was in red-hot form and capped the dominance of the midfield with six goals. Tony Mirabile, Dean Wilson, Chris Langsford and Michael Quartermain were also in good touch in a solid four-quarter effort.
The Brett Jones Colts found the competence of Fremantle CBC too great to overcome, with their hosts taking charge from the middle stages of the third quarter on the way to a 36-point win.
Josh McDiarmid, Riley Carter and Daniel Bavcevic all worked hard but it was to no avail as the Beach was eclipsed 10.11 (71) to 5.5 (35).
The E2 boys were engaged in an enthralling contest with Kenwick at Percy Doyle Oval and after the visitors kicked away to an early advantage, the Beach could not reel them in.
That did not stop the Beach from continuing the fight on the way to a 19-point loss. Jordan Kickett backed up with a second hit-out, having earlier played colts, and provided a target up forward, finishing off his day with seven goals.
Jason Cole continued his good form in front of goals with another couple, while Jackson Howell and Pierce Keating were also solid performers.
North Beach 5.3 9.6 12.8 15.10 100
Whitford 2.3 4.4 5.10 8.11 49
Goals – North Beach: Wilson 5; Potts 3; Bandy 2; Bollen, Clark, Harwood, McGinnity, Paap 1.
Best – North Beach: Cunningham, Heap, Wilson, Dwyer.
North Beach 0.4 3.5 4.7 9.8 62
Whitford 2.0 5.0 5.0 5.4 34
Goals – North Beach: Leishman 3; Sharriniovski 2; Barber, Edwards, Griffiths, S Holbrook 1.
Best – North Beach: Traeger, Leishman, Cassidy, Irvine.
Phil Scott Colts
North Beach 3.4 4.8 5.11 7.13 55
Whitford 1.0 3.0 5.2 6.5 41
Goals – North Beach: Kickett 4; Foreman 2; Thompson 1.
Best – North Beach: Antonelli, Miller, Kickett, Mead, Grapiglia, Clark, Barwick, Sweeny.
Brett Jones Colts
Fremantle CBC 2.3 4.4 6.6 10.11 71
North Beach 0.1 2.3 3.4 5.5 35
Goals – North Beach: Jackson, Botica 1.
Best – North Beach: McDiarmid, R Carter, Bavcevic.
Fremantle CBC 0.5 4.10 8.14 13.16 94
North Beach 0.1 0.2 1.3 2.4 16
Goals – North Beach: Keely, Dye 1.
Best – North Beach: Rhatigan, Seeds, Ongley.
North Beach 2.6 3.9 5.11 9.11 65
Fremantle CBC 1.1 1.2 3.4 5.6 36
Goals – North Beach: French 6; Carroll, Perris, Missikos 1.
Best – North Beach: A Mirabile, D Wilson, C Langsford, Quartermaine.
Kenwick 6.4 9.11 11.14 14.17 101
North Beach 4.1 7.1 8.3 13.4 82
Goals – North Beach: Kickett 7; Cole 2; Clarke, Martinovich, Reynolds, Noothling 1.
Best – North Beach: Kickett, Howell, Cosgrove.