By Gary Stocks
Ruthless, clinical and disciplined, the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade combination powered its way deep into the WAAFL finals series with a comprehensive 73-point victory over Swan Athletic on Saturday.
The Beach anticipated an enthusiastic challenge from Athletic at the neutral MacDonald Reserve venue, but it never really eventuated with the Tigers always in control and seemingly having the answers.
Everything Athletic attempted, the Beach countered and they never built momentum into the game.
In perhaps its most complete performance of the season, the Beach started strongly, resisted a mid-first quarter challenge from its opponent and then assumed ascendancy in virtually every aspect of the game.
With young forward Mark Foreman kicking three goals in the opening term, the Beach asked serious questions of Athletic from the outset and they had no answers as North Beach galloped to an outstanding victory – 16.13 (109) to 4.12 (36).
Led by ruckman Joe Boys and midfielders Matt Power, Josh Bollen, Beau Witheridge and Mitch Dwyer, the Beach consistently pumped the ball forward where Foreman, Jackson Harwood, Ben Wilson and Kyle Riemann were lively.
When Athletic ventured forward – and they did have their share of the ball in the first half – half-backs Kyle Holden, Aaron Jarvis and Matt Irvine invariably repelled them and launched counter attacks from the back half.
Marcus Adams, who had been pivotal in Athletic’s elimination final win against Trinity Aquinas, was nullified, initially by Anthony Ingham and then by Holden, which limited their efficiency forward of centre.
In control from the outset, the Beach now plays University in the preliminary final at McGillivray Oval next Saturday after the Students lost a thrilling second semi-final to Wesley Curtin by a solitary behind.
Unfortunately, the Credent Financial Services A-Reserves must also play in the preliminary final, against Fremantle CBC, after a five-point second semi-final loss to Trinity Aquinas.
After apparently being in control of the game, after kicking away to a three-goal lead in the third quarter, North Beach saw that supremacy diminish as Trinity Aquinas gained some momentum late in the term, going on to win 10.4 (64) to 9.5 (59).
Other than the period in the third stanza, when the Beach kicked away, it was tight and tense finals football, with TAs benefitting from the fact their senior team was eliminated the previous week, dropping back a handful of experienced campaigners.
Just the same the Beach had their measure for much of the match, thanks to the efforts of defender Ben Sweeny, ruckman Alex Hack, midfielders Kade Golisano and Kris Hackett, and forward Jacob Griffiths, who kicked five goals.
In the main, this is a young side which will benefit from the experience of finals intensity, and will be expected to rebound against CBC on Saturday.
Details O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach 4.2 8.5 12.9 16.13 109
Swan Athletic 0.3 1.7 2.9 4.12 36
Goals – North Beach: Foreman 5; Harwood 3; Riemann 2; Wilson, McGinnity, T Langsford, Bollen, Cranley, Dwyer 1.
Best – North Beach: Power, Foreman, Bollen, Holden, Jarvis, Witheridge, Boys.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
Trinity Aquinas 1.2 4.4 8.4 10.4 64
North Beach 2.1 4.4 8.4 9.5 59
Goals – North Beach: Griffiths 5; Potts 2; Golisano, Carter 1.
Best – North Beach: Sweeny, Griffiths, Golisano, Hack, Hackett.