By Gary Stocks
Playing like a team that needs the stimulus of finals football to produce their absolute best, North Beach clawed its way to an 11-point victory over Wesley Curtin at Charles Riley Reserve last Saturday.
Challenged by Wesley Curtin, who led by eight points at half-time, North Beach produced enough quality football against a determined opponent, to eke out victory.
The Beach are sitting 10 points clear as minor premiers going into the final round of qualifying matches, while the last set of fixtures will ensure a gripping climax to the home and away season.
Behind North Beach sits the only other club with a guaranteed finals berth, Trinity Aquinas (44 points), followed by University (40), Wesley Curtin (36), Mt Lawley (36) and Fremantle CBC (32). The pulsating final round will see Trinity Aquinas play University, Mt Lawley host Stirling, Whitford clash with Fremantle CBC and Wesley Curtin confront North Fremantle in games which will determine the composition of the top five.
Last Saturday, North Beach secured victory against Wesley Curtin thanks to the efforts of Reece Cunningham, John Turner, Matt O’Donnell, Luke Smith and Chris Pearce.
Kyle Riemann was also lively and finished with three goals.
The A-Reserves secured second place on the table with a comprehensive 10-goal victory against Wesley Curtin, another finals aspirant.
Rob McComiskie was in outstanding touch through the midfield, Chris Gooch rucked strongly, while Aaron Thomas, Ben Heap, Greg “Jaffa” Pires and Scott Holbrook were also key playmakers.
The Reserves go into the finals series in good touch, demonstrating the depth at the club and the competition for places in the senior grade will be intense through the next month.
The E-Grade secured third position with a solid 33-point win over Fremantle CBC while the E-Reserves also won, but needed a greater winning margin than two points to displace CBC in the top six.
The E-Reserves missed the finals by about 1.7 per cent. It was a tough pill to swallow, although Daniel Johnson, Will Prendergast, Nathan Holden, Brett Anthony, Bodan Arcus and Shaun Reynolds did everything possible to get their team into finals action.
The G-Grade finished the season with a credible 41-point loss to one of the fancied teams in the competition, Ocean Ridge.
After a competitive first half, the Beach could not match it with their opposition, but Michael Quartermaine, Mark Johnstone and Mark Ferreri did everything they could for the North Beach cause.
The Phil Scott Colts paid the price for a sluggish goal-less first half against Wesley-Curtin.
A strong finish will give the Beach boys heart as they prepare for a finals assault despite the 11-point defeat.
They will be looking to round out the qualifying season with a strong win over Wembley this week, while Chris Mead, Ben Clarke, Rhys Thompson, Mitch Christie, Jake Robinson and Chris Humphrey will be looking to sustain their good form.
The Brett Jones Colts were given an insight into the style of football the coaching staff has been trying to generate all season when they bore first-hand witness to the fast, run-on style of play that St Norbert’s produced last Saturday.
When the Beach played disciplined one-on-one football, they were competitive, but could not sustain the effort.
Jordan Dye was outstanding at centre half-back, Cale Foley was strong and resilient at both ends of the ground, Sam Johnson tried to inspire his teammates through the middle, James Cusack was efficient in the ruck while Branden Avery worked on a wing and in the midfield.
North Beach 3.5 4.6 8.9 11.10 76
Wesley Curtin 2.0 6.2 7.4 10.7 67
Goals – North Beach: Riemann 3; Wilson 2; Pearce, Boys, Brennan, McGinnity, Ward, Wattleworth 1. Best – North Beach: Cunningham, Turner, O’Donnell, Smith, Pearce.
North Beach 3.0 8.2 12.2 16.6 102
Wesley Curtin 1.1 1.3 3.4 6.4 40
Goals – North Beach: Harwood, S Holbrook, Pires, Pearce, Perkin, Brookes 2; Traeger, Potts, Thomas, Bell 1.
Best – North Beach: McComiskie, Gooch, Thomas, Heap, Pires, Holbrook.
North Beach 9.9 (63) def CBC Fremantle 4.6 (30)
North Beach 8.5 (53) def CBC Fremantle 7.9 (51)
Goals – North Beach: Gregoire 3.
Best – North Beach: Johnson, Prendergast, Holden, Anthony, Arcus, Reynolds.
Ocean Ridge 1.4 3.6 5.8 9.11 65
North Beach 0.2 2.4 3.4 3.6 24
Goals – North Beach: McQueen 2; Panagopoulos 1.
Best – North Beach: Quartermaine, Johnstone, Ferreri.
Phil Scott Colts
Wesley Curtin 2.4 3.6 5.6 6.8 44
North Beach 0.1 0.4 3.7 4.9 33
Goals – North Beach: Kickett, Foreman, Holdman, Christie.
Best – North Beach: Clarke, Mead, Thompson, Christie, Robinson, Humphrey.
Brett Jones Colts
St Nortberts 4.2 6.6 9.8 16.10 106
North Beach 0.1 2.2 3.4 5.4 34
Goals – North Beach: Johnson 2; Avery, Slatter, Emery 1.
Best – North Beach: Dye, Foley, Cusack, Avery, Johnson, Miller.