By Gary Stocks
The ultimate challenge in a tough football environment is to test yourself against the best in the competition.
North Beach did that at Hamer Park on Saturday and while the quest did not bring four premiership points, the Beach showed they are closing in on the competition’s best as the finals loom.
Mt Lawley split the game open with a 10 or 15 minute burst of quality football in the second quarter, but that period aside, North Beach managed to stick with the competition pace setter.
In an intense first quarter, the Beach controlled play, forced the opposition into error because of the ferocity of their football and had it not been for a late goal, the Hawks would have been in a little trouble at the first break.
The second quarter began in the same vein as the first, but Mt Lawley managed to find space and used the ball efficiently inside 50 to rattle on five goals and moved to a decisive 18-point half-time cushion.
The work rate of the Beach could not be questioned, with Kyle Reimann, Jon Turner and Steve Bandy providing good run and carry, while Jimmy Nunan, Beau Witheridge and Reece Cunningham were doing much of the grunt work.
Up forward Ben Wilson was lively and Cale Potts offered a deeper target, but the Hawks managed to get off the leash.
The game was effectively over after a productive third quarter when Mt Lawley rattled on 5.0, but the Beach persisted before eventually losing by 16 points.
Persistence was the key to the A-Reserves victory, a goal from Rob McComiskie with the last kick of the day securing a five-point win.
The Beach had trailed for most of the day in a high-calibre and entertaining contest where there was never more than a couple of goals between the teams and, for the most part, Mt Lawley held the advantage.
In a desperate last quarter, the experience of players like David Cassidy, Reece Burns and Scott Holbrook was telling, while Daniel Leishman again shone up forward and Liam Vardy, in his first A-Reserves match, was lively throughout.
The most disappointing performance of the day came from the Phil Scott Colts, who conceded Mt Lawley a five-goal start from just five forward 50 entries in the opening term, intensity was down and so too was a willingness to work as a unit.
Having said that, the boys have been building and go into Saturday’s clash had won six of their previous seven games. Lessons will be learned from the loss and they will be looking for redemption next week.
And there were some highlights, particularly the performance of James Foley. In his recall to the Phil Scott team, he played an important role on a wing, nullifying a key opposition play-maker, but also getting plenty of the ball himself.
Ned Melvin was also lively in attack, Chris Mead worked hard throughout with Ben DeRosa, while Jamie Cosgrove, Kris Hackett and Ben Sweeny were also in good touch.
The D1 team produced a meritorious performance, losing by seven points to University after a couple of late contentious umpiring decisions. Given University towelled them up by about 20 goals in their previous match, it was a gritty effort.
Sam Keely kicked five goals, while Michael Collins, Tim van Der Kraats, Sam Harrison and Luke Ratigan were all solid contributors while colt Shaheed Duke was also a strong performer.
The D1-Reserves probably produced the best performance of the round and one that coach Jay Carroll described as the most even team performance of the year, in beating University by seven points.
Again Hayden French finished off the work of a slick midfield, while Dan Johnstone, Dave Hocking, Seb Alderbite and Chris McComiskie were outstanding.
Unfortunately the E2 boys found the going tough against Rossmoyne while the Brett Jones Colts faded and lost by about 10 goals to North Fremantle.
For the Brett Jones Colts, keen to remain in the top five, it was a disappointing performance and some players could do worse than follow the example of the likes of Shaheed Duke, Terry O’Brien and Josh McDairmid.
Mt Lawley 1.5 6.9 11.9 11.14 80
North Beach 3.2 4.3 6.8 9.10 64
Goals – North Beach: Potts 5; Wilson 2; Riemann, Turner 1.
Best – North Beach: Witheridge, Boys, Potts, Bandy, Nunan.
North Beach 2.2 4.2 6.8 9.14 68
Mt Lawley 4.3 6.6 8.8 9.9 63
Goals – North Beach: Leishman 3; McComiskie 2; Pires, Scantlebury, Vardy, Burns 1.
Best – North Beach: Burns, Holbrook, Leishman, Vardy.
University 2.2 4.5 5.5 7.6 48
North Beach 2.1 4.4 7.6 8.7 55
Goals – North Beach: Keeley 5; Carroll, Ratigan 1.
Best – North Beach: Collins, vanDer Kraats, Ratigan, Halikas, Duke, C Langsford.
North Beach 1.2 4.4 6.5 9.6 60
University 1.1 4.5 6.6 7.11 53
Goals – North Beach: French 5; Staniforth 2; Carroll, C McComiskie 1.
Best – North Beach: Johnstone, Hocking, Alderbite, C McComiskie.
Rossmoyne defeated North Beach
Phil Scott Colts
Mt Lawley 5.0 6.1 7.5 11.5 71
North Beach 1.1 2.3 4.5 6.8 44
Goals – North Beach: Waymouth 2; Christie, Kickett, Mead, Melvin 1.
Best – North Beach: Foley, Melvin, Cosgrove, Mead, Sweeny, DeRosa.
Brett Jones Colts
North Fremantle defeated North Beach
Goals – North Beach: Retamal, Thompson, Cusack 1.
Best – North Beach: Duke, O’Brien, McDairmid.