By Gary Stocks
The O’Rourke Realty North Beach A-Grade team sheet did not list among the 22 players the name of Kade Golisano. Yet it could be argued he had as much influence as any individual over an inspired victory over Kelmscott at Charles Riley Reserve.
Golisano, a talented young man respected by all at the club, has not been able to play this season. Swollen glands earlier this year were diagnosed as lymphatic cancer and he has had a far bigger battle than the weekly aches and pains of playing footy.
He has bravely gone about the draining ritual of chemotherapy treatment to conquer the insidious disease and the fact he was at the Beach on Saturday was a massive factor in a 34-point victory over the Bulldogs – 17.11 (113) to 11.13 (79).
When the senior squad assembled in the middle of the ground at half time in the reserves game, Golisano gave a heart-felt address and there was a steely resolve about the group as they started to mentally prepare for the challenge ahead. No matter how tough it got, they knew their club mate was going through a greater challenge.
The Beach carried that inspiration into the contest, starting strongly, continuing with the momentum throughout and but for some wasted opportunities in the second term, when the scoreboard did not reflect the balance-of-play domination, they held sway.
Just the same, the Bulldogs led for no more than a minute during the game.
And while Golisano was an inspiration in the build-up, there were many individual efforts which proved pivotal; a smother by Sam Lamont, kilo for kilo the toughest bloke in the league, which resulted in a goal.
The attack of Michael Taylor on a ball deep in defence which saw him pole-axed in a head-high contact in the last quarter that threatened to end his day. He refused to leave on a stretcher and returned minutes later when the team needed him.
With key defender Kyle Holden (knee) and midfielder Mitch Dwyer (shoulder) out of the game by quarter-time, the Beach showed great courage with limited rotations to keep going.
Skipper Beau Witheridge continues to set an exemplary standard with his attack on the contest; Jacob Griffiths in his first senior game from a knee reconstruction was a factor; Ben Sweeney returning from a ruptured tendon in his finger from round one; key forwards Christian Bottechia and Kyle Cranley had a profound influence on the game.
It was a match with so many outstanding contributions. And the cumulative result was an outstanding victory as the club celebrated a momentous day when the women who are pivotal to the club’s existence were also feted.
The day could hardly have gone better.
It started predictably, with the Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts proving too strong for a Kelmscott team that turned up with just 16 players. Under the rules of engagement, the Beach could pit just 16 against the opposition, meaning an extended bench of nine.
The Beach won by nine goals on a day when the biggest challenge was giving players the opportunity to impact the game before rotating to the bench.
While they struggled for rhythm in the game, Jack Dalton, Nick Marsh, Jordan Clair, Thomas Lownes, Ben McAuliffe, Darcy McCarthy and Jayden Higgins ensured the Beach did enough to claim the points. It wasn’t pretty, but mission accomplished.
It was a similar tale for the Credent Financial Services A-Reserves. Kelmscott, courtesy of some colts who backed up, fielded a full complement, but did not have the where-with-all to compete with a polished North Beach outfit.
There were many dominant midfield contributions, none more so than Jason Davis who kicked six goals, shared a few others and was pristine with his ball use.
Similarly Ryan Ekert was damaging with a half dozen of his own, Ben Wilson was clean and efficient at centre half-forward, Dion Cownie was lively through the midfield and Trevor Lang was terrific down back.
In addition, Anthony Ingham, a defensive stalwart was cast as a forward and kicked three goals.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade, produced yet another comprehensive display, despatching University by 83 points at McGillivray Oval.
It was an astonishing margin considering the Beach led by just eight points at the main break, but kicked 12 goals to one thereafter. Mitch Christie was ubiquitous with five goals, while Aaron Miller, Ed Host, James Belcher, Christian Angelev and Ryan Hart were outstanding.
The Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves started strongly against University, applying maximum physical pressure around the stoppages, tackling strongly and sticking rigidly to the game plan. That generated some opportunities, but unfortunately scoreboard was not applied and the Students had time to settle.
Byron Boys, Jordan Dye and Cam Alco all worked hard, but it was a day of missed opportunities and poor execution, particularly in the back half, which cost the Beach dearly.
The victory by the A-Grade team aside, the Red Hill Brett Jones Colts produced the outstanding team performance of the day, eclipsing the previously undefeated University by 33 points.
The Beach led throughout and with players like forward Jesse Montile and wingman Matt Raynor setting the standard, the stranglehold on the match as never loosened.
Others who ensured an important victory were Brady Hinkley, Richard Nguyen, Ryan Frawley and Matt Holden.
Results O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach 5.1 6.5 12.9 17.11 113
Kelmscott 2.5 5.8 7.9 11.13 79
Goals – North Beach: Bottechia 4; Griffiths, Cameron 3; Cranley, Foreman, Reid 2; Witheridge.
Best – North Beach: Witheridge, Lamont, Bottechia, Reid, Cranley, Taylor, Yakas, T Langsford.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach 5.2 11.6 16.10 23.12 150
Kelmscott 0.2 0.2 1.2 1.2 8
Goals – North Beach: Davis, Ekert 6; Ingham 3; Wilson, Cownie 2; Bandy, Fishlock, Hack, Hall.
Best – North Beach: Ekert, Davis, Wilson, Cownie, Ingham, Lang.
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
North Beach 2.2 6.7 10.9 12.12 84
Kelmscott 1.4 2.5 3.6 4.9 33
Goals – North Beach: Lownes 3; Gerrard 2; Adler, Dalton, Harbers, Higgins, Hooper, Marsh, McCarthy.
Best – North Beach: Dalton, Marsh, Clair, Lownes, McAuliffe, McCarthy, Higgins.
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
North Beach 5.2 8.5 15.9 20.14 134
University 2.2 7.3 8.3 8.3 51
Goals – North Beach: Christie 5; Miotti, S Duckworth 3; Angelev, Campbell, B Irvine 2; Hart, Host, Wilson, Miller, Campell.
Best – North Beach: Miller, Host, Belcher, Hart, Christie, Angelev.
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
University 12.8 (80) def North Beach 6.8 (44)
Goals – North Beach: O’Brien 3; B Boys, Orr-Young, Bramley.
Best – North Beach: B Boys, Dye, Alco.
Red Hill Brett Jones Colts
North Beach 2.4 5.6 8.8 11.9 75
University 1.3 3.3 6.4 6.6 42
Goals – North Beach: Hinkley, Montile 3; Holden, Frawley, Mesiti, Shaw.
Best – North Beach: Montile, Raynor, Hinkley, Nguyen, Frawley, Holden.