By Gary Stocks
The flagship team of the North Beach Football Club, the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade, has played its last game for the season, but that doesn’t mean the club moves into a summer recess.
Indeed, that could not be further from the truth.
The A-Grade and fifth grade teams have wound up for the year, but five teams will tomorrow crank it up another level when they open their finals assaults.
While the senior team did not qualify for post-season action, a successful season has been enjoyed at all other levels and each of the five teams that have qualified for finals have a strong chance of adding to the club’s rich premiership history.
And most importantly, all have a strong essence of youth – aside from the two colts team, who are naturally brim full of exciting 19-year-old talent. Each of the teams that has qualified for finals have earned the double chance because of their efforts across the season and have high confidence levels as a result.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves, the most senior of the teams remaining in the action, face Fremantle CBC at McGillivray Oval. This team has had a neat blend of youth and experience throughout the year and that will again be the case in this match.
With players like Anthony Ingham, Ben Wilson, and Steve Bandy, who have tasted A-Grade success, along with Tim and Andy Langsford mingled in with youngsters Mitch Cameron, Tom DeCourtenay, Liam Ellis and Jarred Chapman there is a neat balance in the team.
The Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts will also play a qualifying final against Mt Lawley, with the objective of earning a crack at the second semi-final against University.
They finished second at the end of the qualifying rounds and are an exciting young group. But they are also acutely aware this will be a challenging assignment against a team which won a last-gasp victory against the Beach a fortnight ago at Charles Riley Reserve.
Again, there is an even spread of talent across all lines and the Beach will be looking to respond to give themselves the best opportunity to capitalise on their work across the season.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade will play a second semi-final against Trinity Aquinas, who have been the competition benchmark, but are not insurmountable. The Beach played TAs three times during the qualifying rounds without notching up a win, but edged progressively closer.
Again, there is a liberal dose of youth in this team and they should relish the opportunity to taste finals football.
The Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves also confront a team, University, which has been the benchmark of the competition and matches between the two clubs have been highly entertaining and competitive. The Beach is not without a chance, particularly at the neutral venue at Bill Grayden Reserve.
The Red Hill Brett Jones Colts will start the day at the Grayden Reserve against University, who were top of the table at the end of the home and away series, and will take some comfort from a late season victory over the Scholars.
The Beach has made strong progress throughout the year and the depth of the colts squad is best measured by their performances in the second half of the year.
The good news is that the five teams will play at just two venues, giving the North Beach faithful the opportunity to throw their support behind the teams that will proudly fly the North Beach flag at the pointy end of the season.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach v Fremantle CBC, McGillivray Oval, 12.35pm
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
North Beach v Mt Lawley, McGillivray Oval, 10.40am
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
Trinity Aquinas v North Beach, Bill Grayden Reserve, 2.30pm
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
University v North Beach, Bill Grayden Reserve, 12.35pm
Red Hill Brett Jones Colts
University v North Beach, Bill Grayden Reserve, 10.40am