IMG_7942By Gary Stocks

Aaaaahhh, home sweet home!

It has taken a while to get there, some inconvenience along the way, but anything worthwhile usually throws up a few challenges.

While the Stirling City Council’s monumental upgrade at the Charles Riley Reserve precinct meant playing a season at a range of alternative venues, fractured the club to some extent and put some pressure on it financially, all is now forgotten.

The end result of the Council’s upgrade is magnificent.

And last night the club held its season launch, amidst the backdrop of preparations for the start of the 2015 WA Amateur Football League season tomorrow.

Invited guests enjoyed the ambiance created by an impressive 10 metre long curtain bearing the North Beach logo and above the bar sat some mementos, reminding us all of past successes. Premiership frames holding pride of place.

But there is no doubting this is a new era, a new path for a football club that has been located at the current venue for 50 years and the this trail-blazing directional shift was ushered in with style.

With a number of dignitaries, long-time and new sponsors and die-hard North Beach people assembled in the function room, the season launch saw president David Cassidy welcome guests before senior coach David Hynes took a 10 minute leave from the training track to give an insight into the season ahead.

He revealed a handful of colts graduates would be on the tongues of the match committee by night’s end and was upbeat about the 2015 campaign.

As Hynes made his way back to his charges, former West Coast champion David Wirrpanda (pictured above) ventured on stage to give an insight into his life – both in football and his post-career vocation with the Wirrpanda Foundation.

Wirra, a 227-game veteran and 2006 premiership player, has a strong connection to North Beach and did contemplate playing for the Beach a couple of years ago. So impressed was he with the new facility, he hinted he might give it consideration once again.

His affinity for the club has even seen him get on board a new initiative this season, where players are sponsored and Wirrpanda is supporting A-Grade utility player Jamie Sajich.

Another of the club’s new initiatives, the Beach Club, was also strongly represented. The Beach Club is a new coterie group where past players and officials can retain a formal connection to the club and the $150 fee provides voting rights, allowing those members to have a say in the future direction of their beloved club.

Anyone interested in becoming a part of the players sponsorship program or The Beach Club, should contact a member of the committee at any game for more information.