By Gary Stocks
As far as community clubs go, they don’t come any more fair dinkum than the North Beach Amateur Football Club.
For a tick over 50 years, the Beach has been providing an outlet for young men in the northern suburbs to strut their stuff. To live the good old fashioned Australian values of mateship, teamwork and unity. To get together with like-minded men, of varying backgrounds, race and beliefs to target a common goal.
Over that journey, North Beach has been a beacon. It has a storied history, punctuated by a run of A-Grade success that saw it win seven successive premierships between 2004 and 2010. It was a remarkable era.
Naturally, the success of the showcase team is important and the A-Grade performance dominates the spotlight. But the heartbeat of the club will go into action over the next fortnight with the opportunity to create another unique chapter in this proud club’s history.
Tomorrow three teams get the chance to fulfil a long-held dream. To be the premiers of their competition.
Mills Park in Kenwick is not the MCG and you won’t see Nic Naitanui or Nathan Fyfe running around in the distinctive gold and red panelled guernsey of the Beach. But those players who have earned the opportunity for glory will be no less committed, no less invested in the team ethos and no less excited about the prospect of having a precious medallion around their necks at the conclusion of the game.
For them it is the culmination of a season’s work; a commitment to the game that might be diluted in comparison to those at the elite level because they have a living to earn outside their sport, but make no mistake this is big!
It will start with the Red Hill Brett Jones Colts playing University. In the regular season they split the results and University were strong winners in the second semi-final, but the boys are keen have earned another crack.
They did so with a gutsy two-point victory in the preliminary final over Fremantle CBC and coach Michael Newman will have them buzzing with anticipation in the season decider. Their journey has been one of marked improvement after copping some heavy early season losses. They have been strong and resilient and will need to replicate those qualities in this contest.
The Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves advanced to the grand final with a stunning second semi-final victory over University and they will again confront the Scholars in the big dance.
Coach Daniel Wheeler has had his team around the mark all season and they will be keen to get away to strong start, a reminder to University of the powerful second-half surge which was the difference a fortnight ago.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade will finish the day at Mills Park in what looms as an intriguing contest with the undefeated Trinity Aquinas.
Master coach Bill Duckworth has taken his team to the grand final for the second successive year and while they have not conquered TAs, they have edged closer in each of their four encounters – losing by just a point in the second semi-final.
The presence of the thirds and fourths in the decider is again the result of the club’s policy of pushing 20-year-old players, still eligible to play colts football, into the senior grades. There is a liberal sprinkling of youth in both these teams, which creates some excitement not just in the present, but the future.
While those three teams will be immersed in the ultimate contest, two other North Beach teams will be striving to get there when the Credent Financial Services A-Reserves and the Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts play preliminary finals at Bill Grayden Reserve.
The A-Reserves, under the astute direction of Scott Holbrook and his lieutenant Greg Pires, have been one of the pacesetters all season and like the thirds and fourths have a mix of players who are just embarking on senior football and some who have been there, done that.
The experience of Anthony Ingham, Tim and Andy Langsford, Steve Bandy, Ben Wilson, Jacob Griffiths and Andrew Nunan is surrounded by a group of players representative of the club’s future – Mitch Cameron, Ryan Ekert, Peter Harvey, Jarrod Chapman, Jacob Cooper, Liam Spencer and Liam Ellis.
It will be a challenge against Fremantle CBC, whose senior team was eliminated last week, but one to which the Beach is looking forward.
The Phil Scott Colts have again produced a remarkable season. They are constantly competing against big-bodied 20-year-olds, but have not shirked the issue at any point.
Craig Dalton is looking to pilot his team into the grand final for the second time in succession. They deserve that opportunity given the season they have produced, but that won’t come without a committed performance today.
The Beach has been engaged in two thrilling contests in the last month against the Hawks and this looms as another absorbing contest. This team boasts some exceptional talent – keep an eye out for the likes of Adam Swain, Jack Dalton, Ben Harbers, Jacob Desmond, Liam Pardini, Brad Waters, Andy Doyle and more.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
Fremantle CBC v North Beach, Bill Grayden Reserve, 12.35pm
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
Mt Lawley v North Beach, Bill Grayden Reserve, 10.40am
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
Trinity Aquinas v North Beach, Mills Park, Kenwick 2.30pm
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
North Beach v University, Mills Park, Kenwick 12.10pm
Red Hill Brett Jones Colts
University v North Beach, Mills Park, Kenwick 10am