By Gary Stocks
In footy, you’re supposed to get what you deserve. That’s not always the case.
At Charles Riley Reserve on Saturday, if the Footy Gods had any heart at all, the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade North Beach team would have endured against University. Instead they dealt out a gut-wrenching four-point defeat.
The Beach led for 99.5 of the 100 minutes, University hitting the front in the last 30 second and the ball not getting back to the middle before the final siren!
That was the nature of the torment of the opening round of the 2015 campaign when University crumbed a goal from a boundary throw-in in the last contest of the match, denying the youthful Beach a victory it richly deserved.
All credit, however, should go to the Scholars who showed why they have been the competition benchmark for the last four years. They never relented, persisted and chipped away before claiming the precious points.
North Beach was on fire early, kicking the first three goals of the game in the opening 10-12 minutes, before falling agonisingly short of victory – 7.9 (51) to 8.7 (55).
Led gallantly by diminutive midfielder Sam Lamont, captain Beau Witheridge and Michael Italiano, the Beach held sway for most of the game. On a day where the club unveiled five debutants, elevated from the colts last year, it had an even spread of contributors throughout.
Young ruckman Tom DeCourtenay did an outstanding job, defenders Jarrod Chaman and Jack O’Gorman and wingmen Joel Brown and Rhys Holdman all excelled and gave a glimpse into the immediate future.
Down back, Michael Schofield and Andy Langsford barely put a foot wrong and the signs were most encouraging.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves gave an exemplary display on the way to a 39-point win.
With a mix of exciting performances from some experienced players and a batch of colts graduates, the Beach controlled the game from the outset.
With veteran Ben Wilson co-ordinating the effort up forward and synchronising brilliantly with emerging youngsters Mitch Cameron and Ryan Ekert, the Beach looked dangerous every time they ventured forward.
The midfield, controlled by wingman Peter Harvey, who worked extremely hard both ways, Kris Hackett, Arran Goddard-Nash, James Belcher and Luke Pardini, the opportunities were abundant.
The strength of Andrew Nunan in the contest was also important, while in the back half, Ben DeRosa and Tim Langsford worked hard to close down the opposition’s attacking moves.
The Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts, in a rematch of last year’s grand final, could not match it with the powerful University combination, but the scoreboard did not reflect the balance of play.
University won 11.9 (75) to 2.4 (16) – but a rush of goals in five minute periods of dominance – in the third and last quarters. The Beach, young and enthusiastic, will undoubtedly develop through the course of the year and gain an understanding of the step up from junior football to A-Colts.
They battled hard, with an almost completely different team to the one that played in the 2014 grand final, but have some raw talent and will grow as a unit as the season progresses.
Ben Harbers, Alex Marcoux, James Murray and Josh Tinckner all looked to set a standard for their young teammates and sustained their effort throughout.
The Redhill Brett Jones Colts were competitive against Wesley-Curtin, but could not overcome the depth of talent within the opposition and lost by 52 points.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade was in sparkling touch scored a comprehensive 52-point win while the Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves proved the masters of Wesley Curtin, pumping out and emphatic 54-point victory – Cale Potts kicking seven goals and Joe Boys dominating around the ground.
After a tight first quarter, when Wesley wasted some opportunities, the Beach held sway and produced an impeccable four-quarter effort.
The Express Bins E1-Grade, promoted after playing in last year’s grand final in E2-Grade, took the step up in their stride – winning 15.5 (95) to 8.5 (53) against Ocean Ridge.
Steve Jopson capitalised on the dominance of the midfield by kicking six goals, while Jason Vry, Owen Collins, Jack Lynch and Tony Mirabile were outstanding contributors.
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach 3.0 4.4 6.5 7.9 51
University 1.2 4.3 5.3 8.7 55
Goals – North Beach: Bottechia, Lamont, Davies, Brown, Yakas, Scantlebury, Foreman.
Best – North Beach: Lamont, Witheridge, Davies, Schofield, DeCourtenay, Italiano, A Langsford.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach 1.3 4.5 7.7 8.10 58
University 1.2 2.5 2.5 2.7 19
Goals – North Beach: Wilson 3; Morgan 2; Ekert, Cameron, Goddard-Nash.
Best – North Beach: Wilson, Harvey, Nunan, Hackett, Goddard-Nash, Belcher, Pardini.
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
University 3.1 7.3 8.7 11.9 75
North Beach 0.0 1.3 2.4 2.4 16
Goals – North Beach: Harbers, Marcou, Clair, Tinckner, Murray.
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
North Beach 13.7 (85) def Wesley Curtin 5.3 (33)
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
North Beach 3.1 5.4 9.6 14.7 91
Wesley Curtin 0.5 1.9 2.9 4.13 37
Goals – North Beach: Potts 7; Premici 2; Clapham, Cuzens, Green, Orr-Young, J Turner 1.
Best – North Beach: Potts, J Boys.
Redhill Brett Jones Colts
Wesley-Curtin 16.9 (105) def North Beach 8.5 (53)
Express Bins E-1 Grade
North Beach 3.2 9.4 13.5 15.5 95
Ocean Ridge 3.1 4.1 5.2 8.5 53
Goals – North Beach: Jopson 6; Collins 3; Mirabile, Smith 2; Holdman 1.
Best – North Beach: Vry, Collins, Jopson, Lynch, Mirabile.