By Gary Stocks
The ANZAC Day fixture is always a special occasion at Charles Riley Reserve. The club understands it is privileged to play on such a significant day in Australian culture.
It does not take that honour lightly, with the matches at North Beach bringing together the North Beach RSL, past and present service personnel and the broader community. It is much bigger than football.
Inspired by that sense of gratitude and respect, the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade dug deep to record a momentous 15-point victory over Trinity-Aquinas – 11.9 (75) to 9.6 (60).
With the club remaining heavily impacted by COVID numbers, availability has been stretched but they played with great heart, finished strongly and showed the ANZAC spirit, kicking six goals to three after the main break.
Classy young utility player Shannon Lucassen won the coveted North Beach RSL Best-on-Ground Medal by demonstrating the traits so valued by those who have served this country, while Dylan Campbell showed a liking for the occasion with four goals.
The return of Oskar Tothill was welcomed, youngsters Cooper Blackburn, Riley Saunders and Egan Brooks were given an opportunity, while Liam Catalfamo and Adam Swain were also key contributors.
Challenge equates to opportunity and the eight players elevated to the Lifenet A-Reserves outfit seized the moment and steered the Beach to a gripping seven-point triumph.
The cohesion, despite the massive change in personnel, was evident with the number of sacrificial acts players were prepared to commit on the path to team success, winning 6.5 (41) to 4.10 (34).
The ability and courage of Austin Sheard has never been in question, and he produced many trademark moments to lead the charge. Tom DeCourtenay worked hard all day and in conjunction with George McColgan produced intimidating performances.
Nathan Adler and Tully Wickstein were a constant threat up forward while Adam Thompson was important in organising the structure around stoppages.
The Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts felt the knock-on effect of some players getting a taste of senior football, while also missing personnel through the virus.
After a competitive start, where they struggled to connect inside the attacking area, they were eventually overwhelmed by a slick Trinity-Aquinas combination.
The Boomers were impressive and won by 14 goals – a margin that might have been greater if not for the efforts of Justin Prior, Josh Moses, Tom Elliot and James O’Malley.
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach 1.6 5.6 9.8 11.9 75
Trinity Aquinas 2.1 6.2 7.3 9.6 60
Goals – North Beach: Campbell 4; Lucassen, Saunders, Tothill, Johnson, Coulton, Stott.
Best – North Beach: Lucassen, Campbell, Catalfamo, Swain.
North Beach 1.2 3.3 4.4 6.5 41
Trinity Aquinas 1.3 2.4 3.8 4.10 34
Goals – North Beach: Adler, Wickstein 2.
Best – North Beach: Sheard, DeCourtenay, McColgan, Adler, Wickstein, Thompson.
Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
Trinity Aquinas 3.2 7.5 10.8 14.8 92
North Beach 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.5 5
Goals – North Beach: –
Best – North Beach: Prior, Moses, Elliott, O’Malley.
Upside of Short Term Pain
The challenges continue to flow through North Beach as COVID-19 throws its worst at the Perth Football League powerhouse.
But even for a club boasting the depth and resources of the Beach it is proving extremely difficult to navigate past this unchartered virus channel.
With so many players impacted, coaches are wearing the digital pads on their mobile devices thin, scrambling to field teams. It is particularly draining on the lower grades, and they have been remarkable.
To remain competitive, let alone in winning positions has been exceptional and that North Beach spirit was abundantly evident last Saturday, despite the fact victories were a rarity.
The Hybrid Linings C4-Grade made 14 changes from round to this round three battle against Fremantle CBC and such has been the turnover that only five players who fielded in the season opener were available.
In the end skill errors proved costly, the Beach going down by 11 points at Morris Buzzacott Reserve – 11.6 (72) to 9.7 (61).
But that short term pain will certainly benefit the club in the long run as a number of players have been exposed to a higher level of football. Nathan Torre was again outstanding in conjunction with Matt Seaton and Joel Temm, while Mitch Tobin bagged four goals.
As you might anticipate, it was a similar story for the Beast Carpet Cleaning C4-Reserves with 16 changes from the round two team.
After being comprehensively out-played in the first half, the Beach fought the game out largely through the efforts of Levi Cooper, who kicked three goals, Xavier Williamson, Michael Bramley and Liam Vardy.
A committed Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts outfit got the job done with great authority against CBC, winning by 71 points after dominating the stoppages.
With 10 Year 12 players from the North Beach JFC getting a taste of colts football, they relished the step up and played with great flair and composure.
One of those youngsters, Dom Crupi was outstanding through the midfield muscling opponents in his way and creating quality opportunities with his clean skill. He was assisted by standout performances from both ruckman Tom Bristow-Stagg and Brodie Everrett.
Up forward CBC had to deal with a three-pronged assault from Zach Farrell, Genji Annert and Kai Jones who all scored multiple times to keep Beach on top all day; the backline was on lockdown all day and was brilliantly led by James Logan once again.
The Beyond Tools E1-Grade were in the contest for most of the day against Swan Athletic before losing by 19 points.
Hybrid Linings C4-Grade
Fremantle CBC 2.0 5.5 7.5 11.6 72
North Beach 1.1 2.4 6.7 9.7 61
Goals – North Beach: Tobin 4; Cuzens, Quinlan, Samuels, Torre, Rollo.
Best – North Beach: Torre, Seaton, Temm, Njegich, Tobin, Osborne, M Duckworth.
Beast Carpet Cleaning C4-Reserves
Fremantle CBC 4.1 9.4 13.5 16.10 106
North Beach 2.4 3.6 7.6 10.6 66
Goals – North Beach: Cooper 3; Lewis, Llanwarne, Bowden, Bramley, Greaves, Lloyd, Willis.
Best – North Beach: Cooper, Williamson, Bramley, Vardy, Lewis.
Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts
North Beach 14.10 (94) def Fremantle CBC 3.5 (23)
Goals – North Beach: Jones 4; Farrell, Annert 3; Castiglioni 2; Emes, Logan.
Best – North Beach: Crupi, Logan, Corderoy, Jones, Bristow-Stagg, Annert.
Beyond Tools E1-Grade
Swan Athletic 2.4 4.5 8.8 11.9 75
North Beach 2.0 5.2 5.6 8.8 56
GJ Osplumb E4-Grade
North Beach 14.11 (95) def Kwinana 1.9 (15)
Women Remain Unbowed
The club’s women’s teams continued their winning start to the season with contrasting victories over Kingsley on Saturday.
The Synkro A-Grade women produced a solid second half performance to edge past the Cats, winning 7.8 (50) to 5.13 (43).
Eva Popovsky was exceptional up forward, kicking four goals to be the match-winner. Tyler Jones was also a menace for the opposition, kicking two goals.
The C4-Grade carried too much fire-power for Kingsley – winning 4.6 (30) to 1.6 (12).
In what started as a much more physical and competitive game than the opening round, the Beach held strong through the middle to get consecutive victories on the board.
Millie Monaghan, Abby Maynard and Abby Critchell had plenty of ball early, with Lorry Plummer cutting of multiple forward kicks.
When Kingsley had the wind advantage in second term, the Beach held them and then broke the game open with a quality effort in the third quarter.
Holding Kingsley goalless until the last four seconds was a strong reflection of their defensive efforts, repelling Kingsley at every opportunity.
The beauty of the squad is that outside of the best couple of players, many others gave strong contributions across all lines is really impressive early.
North Beach 3.4 3.5 6.7 7.8 50
Kingsley 2.0 3.6 3.6 5.13 43
Goals – North Beach: Popovsky 4; Jones 2; Clayton.
North Beach 2.1 2.2 4.7 4.6 30
Kingsley 0.1 0.4 0.4 1.6 12
Goals – North Beach: Armstrong, Monaghan, Gow, Plant.
Best – North Beach: Maynard, Monaghan, Plummer, Critchell.
Wisdom Imparted in I-Grade Win
By Steve Cuzens
The Grange Residential I Grade had their first game for 2022 against Ocean Ridge under lights at Charles Riley.
North Beach were reminded of their humble I Grade beginnings with Ocean Ridge fielding just a handful of players in this their first season.
North Beach started their first season with just six players so the team were happy to provide Ocean Ridge with players to ensure the game proceeded.
While not ideal it did allow for the majority of North Beach’s I Grades list to get a good hit out on the night.
Both teams warmed up against the backdrop of the ANZAC Day celebrations and a spirited North Beach A Grade victory.
During the warmup Jimmy kindly let the A-Grade umpires know how well they had umpired as they left the ground.
The game started slowly with both sides rusty after a long off-season however in the second quarter both started to take marks and link the play together with good use of handball something that coach Panna had been working on in the preseason.
At half time scores were pretty much level with some good work by both defences. Warren Read, Ryan Plummer, Taj Denham and Patsy Newham were all effective laying tackles and fearlessly diving into packs to take possession.
In the last quarter after a rousing three-quarter time speech from Ben D`Agostino some of North Beach`s more experienced players took charge. Chris Willers is starting to learn the importance of bringing others into the game and used his strong foot and handball skills to pass to other players in a better position.
Once Chris learns to not admonish the backline coach during a game further improvement will follow. Jamie Harris was marking everything that came his way and was also strong on the ground.
Reece McKintyre kicked several good goals which are always followed with exuberant celebrations. No doubt coach Panna will be asking young Reece to tone it down a bit in future.
It was a great first up game for the team with Max Armstrong, Lily Goedsir, Benjamin Morley, Matthew Blevins and Mailey Kelly deserving a special mention for their contribution.