By Gary Stocks
“Get it forward. Get it forward,” came the excited screams from the bench.
We were into the last minute of the game, the ball was in dispute at half-back for North Beach. The Tigers were trailing by five points against Trinity Aquinas and things were getting desperate.
Stoppage, after stoppage players dived into the pack. Locking the ball way, until finally it was scrambled into the North Beach forward half. It was sitting wide on the saucer-shaped Bill Grayden Reserve.
Somehow, the Beach needed to get it into attacking area. Finally a clean possession was managed and the ball was kicked into the corridor, about 40 metres from goal. Jackson Harwood was under the footy, working back into his opponent, trying to protect the drop zone.
His Trinity-Aquinas opponent tried to resist, put his hands into the back of Harwood, who was nudged forward.
“He’s paid the free,” coach David Hynes screamed. “We’ve got 20 seconds. Go out and tell him.”
Michael Pratt, midfield coach of the A-Grade and the boss of the A-Reserves, leaned forward. “I know I shouldn’t say this, but he’ll kick this.”
The football could not be in better hands. Few execute their kicking skills in front of goal better than Jako, so it was more about he managed the situation. How he dealt with the nerves.
As he sized up the task, the siren sounded. Harwood took a deep breath, composed himself and moved in to kick. Doubtless his heart was thumping.
His run-up was measured, deliberate and then….crack! Contact was sweet, the ball spun perfectly, and sailed over the top of the goal umpires’ head. If it wasn’t perfectly in the middle of the major opening, it was a millimetre to the left.
Ecstasy! Harwood was swamped. Grown men on the bench jumped into each other’s arms. It was a joyous moment. A triumph in the name of the team ethos – 15.3 (93) to 13.14 (92).
Out-played early, the O’Rourke Realty A-Graders chipped away at the Trinity-Aquinas advantage, trailed at every change, but persisted. Won the majority of the contested football, found heroes all over the ground.
For the second successive week ruckman Kyle Cranley was huge. He took a telling contested mark, running with the flight of the ball in those desperate final moments. He spent the entire game on ball, save for five or six minutes in the third term.
Then, of course, there was Harwood, the match-winner the fourth major of his afternoon while debutant Mark Foreman also slotted four goals. The speed and pressure of Josh Bollen was a key factor as well, finishing with two goals.
It was a courageous victory in so many ways. The effort of Tim Nelli, who spent much of the week bed-ridden with the ‘flu, Kyle Riemann and Rob McComiskie burrowing into every pack and relishing the clash of bodies.
Adrian Clarke and Jamie Sajich, so clean and skilful under pressure, Kyle Holden playing out the second half without a spell because he needed to shut down TA’s main goal-scoring avenue. It was a victory where everyone contributed…and then celebrated.
That success came after the Credent Financial Services A-Reserves had squandered a bright start to the day before suffering their first defeat of the season.
North Beach opened with a four-goal first quarter, but kicked only one more for the day and were in strife after a poor second quarter. The work ethic, so prevalent in earlier matches, dropped away and had it not been for a few determined individual efforts, it could have been even more bleak.
Sam Green was strong and ubiquitous up forward, Matt Power and Kade Golisano gave everything they had through the middle, while Jake Brazill and James Foley were desperate in defence.
While the A-Grade performance was exceptional, it was equalled early in the day by the effort of the Nuchange Phil Scott Colts. Playing against a team that has won the last three A-Colts premierships – and had some 20-year-olds on the ground – the Beach produced a spirited, tough and extremely impressive 16 point win.
The WAAFL lifted the age eligibility for colts by a year, but North Beach took that position that all 20-year-olds would play senior football and that has had benefits right through the grades.
Set up by a resolute defence, a tenacious midfield and an ever-threatening attacking structure, the 9.15 to 8.5 victory did not completely reflect the dominance of the Beach.
Joel Gray was tough and aggressive through the middle, delivering a magnificent, bone-jarring shepherd in the last quarter, while ruckman Tom DeCourtney, will-o-the-wisp Jamie Rudrum, Jack O’Gorman, Dave Ryan and Alex Csar were solid contributors.
The Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts capped off a great day for the colts, mirroring the effort of their contemporaries with and outstanding win against Trinity-Aquinas at Percy Doyle. The Beach was in control from the outset and won 9.4 (58) to 3.7 (25).
After a couple of weeks where the BJ Colts failed to live up to expectations, they played a unified team game and with Sam Callow, Jack Flynn and Jack Galvin leading the way, they were exemplary.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade were decimated by injury and seeing a number of players rewarded for their outstanding form through elevation to higher grades and lost 7.7 (49) to Scarborough 9.10 (54).
After a slow start, North Beach produced an inspired third term to draw within a point at the last change, but faded to a 15-point loss.
Adam Hay-Hendry, Alex Luck, Simon Lorimer, Jamie Cosgrove and Jacob Fitzroy were solid contributors for the Beach.
The Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves produced a scintillating final three quarters to score a convincing 87-point win over Scarborough. After an even first term, the Beach kicked 16 goals to two in winning 18.10 (118) to 4.7 (31).
Michael Bramley again excelled up forward and kicked seven goals, while Tim van Der kraats, Paul Cavanagh, Adam Styles, Gus Davis and Josh Stretch were also terrific across the four quarters.
The Express Bins E2-Grade, were also convincing winners and celebrated the 200-game milestone of Novak ‘Jesus’ Smith with a 45-point destruction of Wesley-Curtin.
Victory was established through a dominant second term, when they kicked six goals to one, on the way to winning 14.5 (89) to 6.8 (44).
Smith kicked three goals, while Alex Popovski, Rob Morrow, Cam Alco and Matt Reynolds were terrific.
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach 2.0 8.1 12.2 15.3 93
Trinity Aquinas 4.5 8.8 11.11 13.14 92
Goals – North Beach: Harwood, Foreman 4; Bollen 2; Heap, Cranley, Irvine, Italiano, Taylor 1.
Best – North Beach: Cranley, Clarke, Sajich, Harwood, Foreman, Riemann, McComiskie, Holden.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
Trinity Aquinas 1.3 8.4 10.5 13.8 86
North Beach 4.1 4.3 4.6 5.7 37
Goals – North Beach: Green 3; Bowdell, Griffiths 1.
Best – North Beach: Golisano, Green, Power, Brazill, Nunan, Foley.
Nuchange Phil Scott Colts
North Beach 0.5 4.9 8.13 9.15 69
Trinity Aquinas 2.2 4.3 6.4 8.5 53
Goals – North Beach: Csar 3; Ryan 2; Angelov, Cameron, Hackett, Reid 1.
Best – North Beach: Gray, deCourtenay, Rudrum, O’Gorman, Ryan, Csar.
Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts
North Beach 3.2 4.2 6.4 9.4 58
Trinity-Aquinas 1.0 3.2 3.4 3.7 25
Goals – North Beach: Stacey, Huggins 2; Dott, Eckert, Hart, Orr-Young, Tincknell 1.
Best – North Beach: Callow, Hart, Ryan, Galvin, Flynn.
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
Scarborough 3.1 6.8 6.8 9.10 64
North Beach 0.2 1.2 6.7 7.7 49
Goals – North Beach: Christie, Cosgrove, Duff, Lorimer, Luck, Clapham, O’Brien 1.
Best – North Beach: Hay-Hendry, Burton, Luck, Lorimer, Cosgrove, Fitzroy.
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
North Beach 2.2 7.7 11.7 18.10 118
Scarborough 2.1 2.3 2.7 4.7 31
Goals – North Beach: Bramley 7; van Der kraats 3; Styles, Wilson, McDonald 2; Ammon, Campbell 1.
Best – North Beach: van Der kraats, Cavanagh, Styles, Davis, Bramley, Stretch.
Express Bins E2-Grade
North Beach 3.1 9.3 9.5 14.5 89
Wesley Curtin 3.2 4.6 4.6 6.8 44
Goals – North Beach: Smith 3; Kuenen, King, Reynolds 2; Bailey, Pike, Roost, Elias 1.
Best – North Beach: Popovski, Morrow, Alco, Reynolds.