By Gary Stocks
The Perth Football League season might only be a third of the way through, but the stakes remain as high now as they do at the sharp end of the season.
That is particularly true of those aspiring to play finals.
The O’Rourke Realty North Beach A-Grade outfit has put itself in a strong position to qualify for finals and coming up against another September aspirant, Fremantle CBC on their home deck last Saturday loomed as a pivotal encounter.
The Beach held a four-point advantage on the ladder going into battle and recognised the quality of the opposition. They got what they expected with a tough physical encounter and at half-time CBC led it by 11 points.
The Tigers responded in the second half, closed down their opponents and restricted them to just three behinds on the way to an impressive 26-point victory – 9.11 (65) to 5.9 (39).
Midfielders Craig Hoskins and Brayden Lawler revelled in the slippery conditions while James Garcia and Shannon Lucassen were a constant threat up forward and Matt Murray was composed in defence.
The Lifenet A-Reserves suffered a tough one-point loss after an engrossing battle, going down by a single point – 9.4 (58) to 9.5 (59) – after working their way in front in the last term.
The Beach defended the ball well when it travelled into the backline and created counter-attacks through some good run and handball passages, but struggled to transition the ball into the forward line with CBC rolling a player back behind the ball.
A few crucial errors at important moments proved costly, but there were some good lessons learned.
Tim Edwards continued his good form in conjunction with Jack McIntosh while Chris Wells and Riley Hinkley also dug deep. Nathan Adler and Jordan Webster made the most of their opportunities, kicking five of the team’s nine goals.
The Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts capitalised on a strong start in enemy territory to record an important nine-point victory – 11.11 (77) to 10.8 (68).
The pressure around the contest was impressive from the outset and the ball movement out of the congestion was highly efficient.
The Beach did not sustain the pressure throughout, which gave CBC a glimmer of hope, but the Beach was resilient in the run to the line with Joshua Moses and Cooper Blackburn dynamic through the middle.
Riley Sparks and Cody Connell were a constant headache for the CBC defence, kicking three goals apiece, while defensively Harrison Baxter and Harper Baron-Hay were solid down back.
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach 2.4 3.7 7.9 9.11 65
Fremantle CBC 2.4 5.6 5.7 5.9 39
Goals – North Beach: Lucassen 3; Garcia, Chapman 2; Saunders, Johnson.
Best – North Beach: Hoskins, Lawler, Murray, Garcia, Lucassen, Saunders.
Fremantle CBC 2.0 4.1 7.3 9.5 59
North Beach 1.1 3.2 8.2 9.4 58
Goals – North Beach: Webster 3; Adler 2; Stott, Brown, Edwards, McIntosh.
Best – North Beach: Edwards, McIntosh, Wells, Hinkley.
Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
North Beach 4.2 7.4 8.9 11.11 77
Fremantle CBC 1.1 4.1 5.4 10.8 68
Goals – North Beach: Sparks, Connell 3; Logan, Prior, O’Shea, Dobson, Nicholls.
Best – North Beach: Baxter, Harper, Moses, Blackburn, Connell, Sparks.
Lower Grades Meet Challenge
For the second week in succession the North Beach third and fourth grade teams faced off against an opposition senior team and for the second time they successfully met that challenge.
The Hybrid Linings C4-Grade, after a tight first quarter, gradually gained the upper hand on the way to a 25-point victory – 10.11 (71) to 7.4 (46).
Again, there was a high turnover of players from week to week and it took a little while for the cohesion to come together, but once they got rolling the Beach produced an irresistible performance.
While Mitch Cameron continued his stellar season with another six-goal bag and Mason Rollo was a reliable foil with three of his own, again the standard was set by Austin Sheard whose commitment to the contest was in line with his signature modus operandi.
Marc Crisp was again outstanding through the midfield, while Jamie Bennett was also a strong contributor with Nic Baroni.
The victory was a fitting celebration for two loyal servants of the club who celebrated important milestones. Kahlil Campbell played his 150th match and Liam Hunter notched up his ton.
The Beast Carpet Cleaning C4-Reserves were always in control of their game against the Saints, setting the foundation with a dominant first quarter on the way to a remarkable 18.4 (112) to 5.3 (33) victory.
Again, Mitch Hunt was opportunistic around goals, finishing with an even half dozen, while Matthew Lewis chimed in with three so that pair accounted for 50 percent of the team’s score.
Vaughn Quinlan also maintained a rich vein of form, while Connor Pollard produced a typically tradesman-like performance and Daniel Njegich and Michael Bramley were also key contributors.
The Beyond Tools E1-Grade found Hamersley-Carine a little too talented on the day, going down by 42 points.
Brody Vance committed every fibre in the effort to achieve victory, while the same could be said of Ryan Staniforth who knows only one way to play, and Jack Andrich was tackling opposition players who dwarfed him, and Brett Anthony turned back the clock with a classy performance.
Unfortunately, they were hit again by the number crunch with almost half of the selected team forced out by midday Friday.
Still, they assembled and represented the club proudly.
The GJ Osplumb E4-Grade scored a meritorious 12-point victory over Forrestdale, 10.4 (64) to 7.10 (52).
Hybrid Linings C4-Grade
North Beach 2.2 5.4 7.7 10.11 71
Osborne Park 1.2 3.2 5.3 7.4 46
Goals – North Beach: M Cameron 6; Rollo 3; Baroni.
Best – North Beach: Sheard, Crisp, M Cameron, Bennett, Rollo, Baroni.
Beast Carpet Cleaning C4-Reserves
North Beach 6.1 9.1 16.1 18.4 112
Osborne Park 0.0 2.1 5.1 5.3 33
Goals – North Beach: M Hunt 6; Lewis 3; Lloyd, Stevens 2; Steffensen, Quinlan, Vozzo, Persichitti, Bramley.
Best – North Beach: Quinlan, Pollard, Hunt, Njegich, Bramley.
Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts
Beyond Tools E1-Grade
Hamersley-Carine 8.12 (60) def North Beach 3.0 (18)
Goals – North Beach: –
Best – North Beach: Vance, Andrich, Staniforth, Anthony.
GJ Osplumb E4-Grade
North Beach 10.4 (64) def Forrestdale 7.10 (52)
Key Lessons In Tough Loss
It was always going to be a tough assignment; University at home, under lights and on a day when the Scholars were celebrating one of their great contributors.
The Synkro North Beach A-Grade Women ultimately found that challenge on Neil Donaldson memorial round to be insurmountable, but despite the first loss of the season there were some key take-aways.
University got the jump on the Beach when they produced a polished display in the greasy conditions and effectively had the game under control when leading 3.4 to 0.1 by half time.
But the Beach never stopped working and on balance of play matched it with their rivals, though their efforts were not reflected on the scoreboard. Certainly the pressure around the ball lifted and the commitment was unquestionable, despite making no headway into the University advantage.
Beth Carey, Alice Di Vicenzo, Tessa Anderson and Ash Pianto set a wonderful example while Eva Popovsky again showed her capacity in front of goal, kicking the solitary major for the Beach.
The C4-Grade Women continued their impressive start to the season with a convincing 7.12 (54) to 0.0 (0) victory over Gosnells.
They controlled every aspect of the game and despite taking time to adjust to the slippery conditions their intensity around the ball was first rate.
Despite some physicality from the opposition the Beach retained focus and controlled the contest all game.
There was great positioning in front of and behind the ball allowing the Beach to rebound fast and stop any forward attacks that they attempted.
It was a fitting send off for our captain Lorry Plumber and a nice presentation after the game to the new co-captains in Moana Roberts and Billie Armstrong.
Both Roberts and Armstrong were strong contributors in this dominant display, while Cara Catterall, Ilah Lennon, Rebecca Mirchef and Jodie DelFante were also prominent.
Synkro A-Grade Women
University 2.2 3.4 3.5 4.7 31
North Beach 0.0 0.1 1.1 1.1 7
Goals – North Beach: Popovsky.
Best – North Beach: Carey, Di Vincenzo, Anderson, Pianto, Lilford, Burvill.
North Beach 2.1 5.5 5.9 7.12 54
Gosnells 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0
Goals – North Beach: Jones, DelFante 2; Holden, Roberts, Plummer.
Best – North Beach: Roberts, Catterall, Lennon, Mirchef, DelFante, Armstrong.