Beau-ty ticks off 150


Some times in life the planets, inexplicably, align.

Tomorrow at Charles Riley Reserve such a situation will exist when a large turn-out is expected to see the last rites delivered on the home of North Beach since 1964. After 49 years of combat and camaraderie it will be bowled over in the name of progress.

It will be an emotional occasion when the club hosts its final fixture, against league leader Wesley Curtin. Early next week the bobcats will begin ripping into the hallowed surface to lay reticulation pipes in readiness for the new beginning.

Within a week or two the modest clubrooms will be bowled over as well. It will probably take a wrecking ball minutes to flatten five decades of bliss.

Before all that happens, of course, there are some games to play. Significant ones at that.

And an interesting aside surfaced on Thursday night as players pulled out rollers and plastered black paint onto the less-than-pristine club room walls. Those walls, stripped bare of all memorabilia earlier in the week, will light up fluorescently for the past match wake.

As the rollers delivered a quaint change-up, a check of records showed that co-captain Beau Witheridge will celebrate his 150th game on this grand occasion.IMG_2708

Now, it is probably stretching things a little to suggest Witheridge “is” North Beach, but he is among the finest, in a long line of fine men, to wear the red and yellow. Hopefully, he is somewhere in the middle of a distinguished career, which has already netted him a cluster of A-Grade premierships.

In the last 49 years there have been some outstanding players and individuals who have done wonderful things for this football club. Witheridge is still building, but he does not sit in anyone’s shadow.

Like many before him, the 26-year-old could comfortably have played at a higher level. Well balanced, he rarely loses his feet, is strong in the contest and distributes the ball with a high degree of efficiency.

“To play my 150th on such a momentous occasion for the footy club is very humbling,” Witheridge said. “Apart from everything else that is happening around the place, with the last game at Charles Riley as we know it, we get a chance to test ourselves and see where we sit against the best possible opposition.

“It means a hell of a lot to play 150 games for North Beach. To have started my journey in the colts and to have played at one club all the way through is important to me.

“Early on I was aiming to play in the WAFL, but that didn’t happen and in the end I’m satisfied with that.

“Like a lot of players, I had a tough initiation with Bill (Duckworth) and he taught me that running defensively was just as important as running forward, but that paid off because I played in a few flags, so I have to be happy with that.

“Playing at North Beach has meant playing a good level of football and it probably suits my life-style. You still prepare as best you can to play, but you can also have a few beers and I am playing with my mates.

“For my 150th to land on the last day at Charles Riley is really special. Charles Riley means so much, not just to me, but all the boys.”           

The challenge against Wesley-Curtin will be significant and the match committee made four changes to the team for this final match at home. Multiple premiership players Steve Bandy, Aaron Jarvis and Josh Bollen return while, in stark contrast, defender Jake Brazill will make his senior debut.

Round 13 fixtures
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach v Wesley-Curtin, Charles Riley Reserve, 2.30pm
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach v Wesley-Curtin, Charles Riley Reserve, 12.35pm
Nuchange Phil Scott Colts
North Beach v Wesley-Curtin, Charles Riley Reserve, 10.45am
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
Wesley-Curtin v North Beach, South Oval, 2.30pm
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
Wesley-Curtin v North Beach, South Oval, 12.35pm
Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts
Wesley-Curtin v North Beach, South Oval, 10.45am
Express Bins E2-Grade
Fremantle CBC v North Beach, Morris Buzacott Reserve, 5pm