By Gary Stocks
Steering a vehicle in heavy traffic is difficult at the best of times. North Beach senior coach David Hynes has had the task of piloting the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team through some difficult and challenging congestion, with one eye firmly fixed on the rear view mirror.
Now, though, after a strong victory against Wesley Curtin he and his team can focus purely on what is ahead of them. They can ignore the distractions alongside them, forget about the things behind them.
In despatching Wesley Curtin, one of the top three teams in the competition, the Beach has shored up its position. No one talks relegation at the Beach, but without question it was nagging away in the deep recesses at the back of the collective mind.
And with two games remaining, the Beach can now safely begin to lock all of their attention on the journey ahead.
That has been the case this season. There has been a strong emphasis on the youth in this squad, with up to 10 players who are eligible to play colts football being exposed regularly to A-Grade action.
There is no question those emerging, exciting players will be the driving forces in the Beach’s regeneration and they will benefit enormously from their first season of senior footy. The more they play the better they will get.
As it stands, the Beach has won seven of 16 games with a chance to split the ledger 50/50 with winnable games to close out the season. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. And first we should celebrate a remarkable victory against a genuine 2015 premiership contender.
Against a mature and seasoned Wesley Curtin, the Beach hung in the game on a miserable, inhospitable Saturday afternoon and were five points in arrears at three-quarter time.
Then – with senior players like Mitch Dwyer, Beau Witheridge, Matt Irvine and Jamie Sajich leading the way – the Beach pounced. In the age-old North Beach tradition they had been strong and resilient all day and then they took it to another level.
It was a remarkable, grinding, pulsating victory and was a reward for sticking true to belief, the game plan…and youth.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves, have been similarly laden with exciting talent all year. Some have pushed up to A-Grade, lost a little form and confidence, and returned to the Ressies to regain touch.
Again, with a sprinkling of experience around them, they have excelled. And against Wesley Curtin, they won by 19 points in a game where the margin did not reflect the margin. It was never seriously in doubt, although the Beach put it beyond dispute with a five goals to three last term.
Trevor Lang, big-hearted young ruckman Tom DeCourtenay, experienced forward Jacob Griffiths, utility player Adam Miotti and Craig Hall, who kicked three goals in atrocious conditions were key factors in the victory.
The Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts suffered a rare defeat. Playing in the worst of the conditions with wind squalls and heavy rain sweeping across South Oval, they fell to an eight-point defeat.
The Beach could kick just two goals for the day and found Wesley Curtin more committed to the contest. It will serve the boys well as they prepare to embark on a finals campaign where their focus is to go one better than last year.
Jack Dalton and Adam Swain, not surprisingly in the aquatic conditions, excelled for the Beach along with Liam Pardini and Jacob Desmond.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade rollicked to a 136-point thumping of Mt Lawley at Charles Riley Reserve. And while the opposition was feeble, this was more a matter of the systems and practices the Beach was looking to play.
And it was exceptional. An outstanding four-quarter exhibition when, in such lop-sided games, it is easy to fall away and do only what is needed to get the job done.
Christian Angelov continues to impress and along with Jason Davis, Mitch Christie, Shane Duckworth and Aaron Miller carried too much firepower for their opponents.
The Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves were also dominant against Mt Lawley, if not to the same extent, with the Beach blowing the game open with an outstanding second quarter.
The assault was led by Jack Collins, Joe Boys and Ryan Clapham.
The Red Hill Brett Jones Colts geared up for the looming finals campaign with an authorative performance against Mt Lawley, conceding just one goal while rattling on 10 of their own.
Given the conditions that was a spanking, and the Beach will take confidence into the closing weeks of the season.
Matthew Raynor led the charge and he had good support from Richard Nguyen, Liam Manov, Max Mairati and Alex Marcoux.
Unfortunately the Express Bins E1-Grade charge to the finals came to an end, with a disappointing loss to Willetton.
Michael Quartermaine, Jordan Dye, Mitch Clarke and Jason Vry worked hard, but there was not enough contributors to prevent defeat.
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach 1.1 3.3 4.4 8.6 54
Wesley Curtin 1.4 2.6 4.9 4.11 35
Goals – North Beach: Cownie 2; Bottechia, Davies, Dwyer, Ekert, Reid, Harvey.
Best – North Beach: Dwyer, Witheridge, Irvine, Sajich, Yakas, Webster, Cownie.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach 1.2 3.4 4.5 9.6 60
Wesley Curtin 0.0 1.0 3.1 6.5 41
Goals – North Beach: Hall 3; Cameron, Griffiths, B Irvine, A Langsford, Pardini, Wilson.
Best – North Beach: Lang, DeCourtenay, Griffiths, Miotti, Hall.
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
Wesley Curtin 0.2 2.3 4.3 4.4 28
North Beach 0.3 2.6 2.7 2.8 20
Goals – North Beach: Dalton, Gerrand.
Best – North Beach: Dalton, Swain, Pardini, Desmond.
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
North Beach 3.5 9.9 15.12 20.17 137
Mt Lawley 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 1
Goals – North Beach: Christie 5; S Duckworth 4; Hart, Miller 3; Bubnich, Campbell, Duke, Davis, Lorimer.
Best – North Beach: Angelov, Davis, Christie, S Duckworth, Miller.
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
North Beach 2.2 7.4 8.8 12.11 83
Mt Lawley 2.1 2.1 4.2 4.3 27
Goals – North Beach: J Collins, J Boys, Csar, Turner 2; Callow, Clapham, O’Brien, Orr-Young.
Best – North Beach: Team effort.
Red Hill Brett Jones Colts
North Beach 2.7 3.12 7.15 10.18 78
Mt Lawley 0.1 0.4 0.4 1.6 12
Goals – North Beach: Raynor 2; Brooks, Fairburn, Frawley, Mairata, Manov, Marcoux, Rollo, Warner.
Best – North Beach: Raynor, Nguyen, Manov, Mairata, Marcoux.
Express Bins E1-Grade
Willetton 0.0 4.4 9.7 10.9 69
North Beach 3.1 3.2 4.6 5.8 38
Goals – North Beach: Smith 3; Rice, Veitch.
Best – North Beach: Quartermaine, Kennedy, Dye, Clarke, Vry.