By Gary Stocks
Persistence, creativity and a determination to play the game to its end, saw the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade produce one of the great victories of the season against Whitford last Saturday.
In snatching a thrilling six-point triumph, the Beach secured third position and a double chance in the WAAFL A-Grade finals series with a dramatic win over neighbourhood rival Whitford at MacDonald Reserve.
In a tight and entertaining contest, where the lead changed hands constantly throughout, the Warriors appeared to have the game in their keeping when leading by a goal with less than 90 seconds on the clock.
But the Beach manufactured two goals in the run to the wire, the last of them coming after a brilliant tackle by ruckman Kyle Holden. From the resultant free kick about 50 metres from goal, with scores level, Matt Irving crumbed and goaled to give the Beach an exciting triumph – 12.8 (80) to 11.8 (74).
In notching up that important victory, the Beach has locked down third position with the final round of qualifying matches remaining next weekend, against Swan Athletic.
Other key contributors in the victory were defenders Adrian Clarke and Anthony Ingham, ruckmen Holden and Joe Boys, midfielders Matt Power, Beau Witheridge and Mitch Dwyer while Jackson Harwood kicked three goals.
The last-gasp triumph ensured that centre half-forward Ben Wilson celebrated his 150th game appropriately.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves, who will finish at the top of the table after qualifying rounds, coasted to a 94-point win over Whitford.
Dominant in every facet of the game, the Beach carved out a terrific team performance with the players fulfilling their specific team roles despite the temptation to divert from that ethos to chase personal glory.
Alex Hack was outstanding in the ruck, Ben Sweeny offered strong rebound out of defence along with Michael Schofield, while Sam Green and Michael Taylor were lively up forward, while Kade Golisano, Andrew Nunan, Liam Vardy and Dion Cownie also excelled.
The Nuchange Phil Scott Colts maintained a flicker of finals hopes with 57-point over Whitford, but must look for a convincing win over Swan Athletic this week to push into the final five.
The Beach are sitting in sixth place, just four points adrift of Wesley Curtin who play top team University this week.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade found North Fremantle too tough to overcome, but will play an elimination final this week.
With the Hybrid Lings D1-Reserves and Express Bins E2-Grade also working their way into the finals series this weekend, all of the senior teams have made the business end of the season. Both of those teams will be looking for stronger efforts on Saturday than was managed in the last round of qualifying matches.
Unfortunately, the Brett Jones Colts season ended with a 121-point defeat at the hands of North Fremantle.
Details O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach 3.3 6.3 9.6 12.8 80
Whitford 2.1 6.5 9.7 11.8 74
Goals – North Beach: Harwood 3; Irvine, Holden 2; Griffiths, McGinnity, Power, Sajich, Foreman 1.
Best – North Beach: Clarke, Power, Witheridge, Holden, Boys, Dwyer, Ingham.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach 17.11 (113) def Whitford 3.1 (19)
Nuchange Phil Scott Colts
North Beach 12.6 (84) def Whitford 3.3 (21)
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
North Frem 5.4 10.6 12.9 18.14 122
North Beach 1.0 2.0 2.1 4.5 29
Goals – North Beach: Kickett 3; Mirabile 1.
Best – North Beach: Hay-Hendry, Permishi, Collins, Wheeler, D Wilson.
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
North Fremantle 12.6 (78) def North Beach 5.10 (40)
Express Bins E2-Grade
Coolbellup 16.15 (111) def North Beach 3.2 (20)
Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts
North Fremantle 19.15 (129) def North Beach 1.2 (8)
#Full details from all grades will be published as they become available.