By Gary Stocks
Occasionally it takes just a few minutes to sense a team is ‘on’.
Last Saturday, at Morris Buzacott Reserve in Kardinya, it was just a few seconds. The Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts meant business in their preliminary final against Fremantle CBC and they showed it from the outset.
Their body language. Their approach to the contest. Their desire to impact every chance they had was evident from the first bounce.
When North Beach had met Fremantle in the second semi-final, the Beach was well….a bit ‘off’.
They earned another crack with an emphatic first semi-final win over Trinity Aquinas and despite this game being played at CBC’s home track, it seemed the Beach was intent on making an imposing statement. Immediately.
They did that with their pressure all over the ground and, in truth, should have had the opposition on their knees by quarter-time. The only criticism that could be levelled at the Beach was that they did not make the opposition pay in the only statistics that really matters – the scoreboard.
North Beach led 2.6 to 0.2 after 20 minutes and some of those missed opportunities were truly wasted.
Given the opportunity to regroup at the break, you just knew CBC would surge. And in the second term they came hard, kicked four goals in a 10 minute burst and essentially had the game on level terms at the half.
It was at about that time that thoughts of squandered opportunities might come back to sting – as they have so often in the past and they did at a higher level later in the day. But the Beach boys were focused, rediscovered the zone and were magnificent in the second half.
They attacked the contest with relish, every time an opponent got footy it seemed he was hit by a bone-crunching tackle and it caused panic. Even, at times, the inferred pressure was enough to produce a turn over.
In the end, North Beach endured by 34 points and CBC did not kick a goal beyond that second quarter purple patch.
Courtesy of the 9.12 (66) to 4.8 (32) victory the Beach is into the grand final, where they will play University. The have earned that right because they have been strong and united and have played selfless team football.
Against CBC, they had many good players – indeed it was difficult to find one who did not contribute – but when the mood was set, it was players like Mitch Cameron up forward, Jamie Rudrum through the middle and a magnificent back six, led by Jarrod Chapman, who set the tone.
Additionally, Ben Harbers, Joel Brown and Nick Bowe were terrific through the midfield while Ryan Ekert imposed his will on the game.
As mentioned the back six were outstanding, well led by Brennen Irvine and youngsters Jake Drummond and Jack Dalton also playing important roles.
While the colts booked a grand final berth, unfortunately the Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade and the Express Bins E2-Grade, came up short in premiership deciders.
The D1-Grade, who set the pace at the top of the table throughout the season, simply did not get going against Whitford and lost 9.4 (58) to 15.6 (96).
With raucous barracking from both camps, Whitford got away to a flier, were challenged briefly in the second term, but kicked away and won comfortably.
Only a handful of North Beach players competed to the standard they set throughout the season, with Mitch Holbrook ubiquitous up forward, but denied enough opportunities to kick a winning score, Ben Bubnich, Dean Wilson and Shane Duckworth having any impact on the game.
The E2-Grade faced a mammoth task against Fremantle CBC, trying to reverse a 20-goal second semi-final defeat.
They played with genuine North Beach passion and were right in the game until half time before fading and losing 11.10 (76) to 5.2 (32). That was a terrific effort and coach Novak Smith was justifiably proud of his troops.
Anthony Mirable, Sivdeep Gil and Daniel Karpinczck stood up for the Beach. While disappointed with the result, the E2-Grade were content they gave their all and were committed to returning and competing unfinished business in 2015.
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
Whitford 6.2 9.3 12.6 15.6 96
North Beach 2.0 5.1 7.2 9.4 58
Best – North Beach: M Holbrook, Bubnich, Wilson, S Duckworth, Cassidy, Fitzroy.
Express Bins E2-Grade
Fremantle CBC 11.10 (76) def North Beach 5.2 (32)
Goals – North Beach: Jopson 2; Stretch, Cavanagh, Mirable.
Best – North Beach: Mirable, Gil, Karpinczck.
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
North Beach 2.6 3.7 6.12 9.12 66
Fremantle CBC 0.2 4.2 4.2 4.8 32
Goals – North Beach: Cameron, Rudrum 3; Adler, Harbers, Zehnder 1.
Best – North Beach: Harbers, Rudrum, Chapman, Cameron, Brown, Bowe, Irvine.