By Gary Stocks
The impressive array of premiership memorabilia adorning the walls of the North Beach Football Club was hard-earned. And last Saturday the sense of just how tough they are to win was hammered home.
Three teams earned the right to play for the honour of being the best team in their respective competitions and all three were conquered. That’s not to say they didn’t do all they could, but on the day they found their opposition too good.
It’s gut-wrenching at the time, seen as a missed opportunity. And sometimes you never recover from the devastation of such a defeat.
While the vanquished have had a week to lick their wounds, bring the curtain down on a good year and reflect, there is still one more team in the hunt for premiership glory. One team searching for a way to convert a good year to a great year. And it’s a major factor in why the club has been so buoyant in 2015.
A few years ago the WA Amateur Football League – for reasons best known to themselves – decided it would raise the age of the colts competitions to players aged 20 and under in the season of competition.
North Beach took the view that players who turn 20 should push up the grades and play senior football. They were sprinkled through the grades, about 10 were given an opportunity in the A-Grade team and three or four were regulars.
As many played in the A-Reserves. And when the thirds and fourths played in their grand finals at Kenwick last week there was a strong representation of colts graduates from last season.
Despite that policy, which often sees the Phil Scott Colts, in particular, combatting stronger, more mature opponents both colts teams made the Grand Final. The Brett Jones Colts lost last week, but the Phil Scott Division plays tomorrow at Steel Blue Oval, Bassendean – the home of Swan Districts.
For the Phil Scott Colts, it will be the second successive year that they have made it to the big dance and it is a remarkable achievement. And for the second successive year their opponent is University.
In round one this year University out-muscled North Beach, but the boys responded second time around at McGillivray Oval and won convincingly.
Craig Dalton has done a remarkable job with this squad and again they represent the future of the club. There is clearly plenty of talent within their ranks and it will be worth making the trip out to Bassendean to see them play.
Some of the guys who were involved in last year’s Grand Final were stung by the loss, after dominating the first half, but not getting the rewards for their work on the scoreboard. It’s impossible to be more motivated than by simply playing in a game this big, but they’ll be extra keen to win this.
There is quality across every line.
Look out for Jacob Desmond across back half, Ben Evans, Jordan Clairs and Adam Swain through the midfield, Ben Harbers on a wing, ruckman Andy Doyle and forward Nathan Adler. Keep an eye out for the tenacious Jack Dalton, Brad Waters and Matt Holden as well.
This is an exciting young group, oozing talent. They have created enthusiasm and optimism around the club all year. The colts squad is strong and united and tomorrow that might just be the difference.
Maybe they can add another special reminder for generations to come by creating their own piece of history.