LIFENET A-RESERVES GO BACK-TO-BACK Beach excels in GF big moments
Usually in a tight final, there is a defining moment.
When the Lifenet A-Reserves played Trinity Aquinas in Saturday’s Grand Final it arrived on the stroke of three-quarter time.
Despite controlling play for much of the game, the Beach was under threat. The Boomers had closed to within eight points and another classic, close finale loomed.
Young forward Jordan Brooks was preparing for a set shot after the siren. About 25 metres out, not far off centre. It was a clutch moment and under normal circumstances, a simple conversion for a man of his skill.
Throw in a slice of tension, given the circumstances, and the degree of difficulty multiplied significantly. Not that there were any external signs of anxiety as Brooks stepped into his set shot routine and split the middle.
Players rushed from all parts of the ground to celebrate the goal as the Beach took a 14-point buffer into the last change.
After that emotional fillip, the Beach, playing in their third consecutive A-Reserves Grand Final, clinched back-to-back titles courtesy of a 7.7 (49) to 5.6 (36) victory.
Brooks was a key figure in the winning performance and kicked four goals, while Josh Chapman, was also threatening deep in attack – his presence causing some anxious moments for the Boomers’ defence.
The defensive of pressure of Joe Deegan was also exceptional and the TA backline was forced to work hard to clear the ball out of dangerous territory.
Through the midfield, Peter Hiotis, who won best-on-ground honours, Goddard-Nash, Adam Swain and Dan Ryan worked vigilantly and ensured plenty of supply while the defence was supreme throughout.
Liam Catalfamo, Ned Halley and Cam Hoskins repelled virtually everything the opposition threw at them in what was a sublime team performance.
The only downside was that the Beach did not get value for return. They could easily have had the game in their keeping at half-time, but did not hit the scoreboard as hard as they deserved given the amount of play in their forward half.
But when it mattered, when threatened, they recognised the cues, dug deep and responded in a classy display.
With seven members of this premiership team eligible to play colts this season, it was further testimony of the tsunami of young talent ready to explode into senior football. Lifenet A-Reserves Grand Final NorthBeach 1.3 3.6 6.6 7.7 49
Trinity Aquinas 0.0 2.1 4.4 5.6 36
Goals – NorthBeach: Brooks 4; Johnson, Chapman, Deegan.
Best – NorthBeach: Hiotis, Brooks, Goddard-Nash, Catalfamo, Halley, Hoskins, Ryan, Swain, Deegan.
Bright future soothes pain
Creating a pathway for local juniors to progress to senior football is one of the core responsibilities of a community football club.
At NorthBeach it takes that responsibility seriously, to the extent that the club ensures that the transition from junior football to colts occurs as seamlessly as possible.
To ensure the flow through, the club has for a number of years, adopted the policy of elevating its top age colts players into senior football. Several seasons ago the WAAFL lifted its colts eligibility from 19 to 20 and under.
At the Beach, the club had a contrary view and felt the competition should have been retained as an under-19 competition. In response, and to ensure opportunities for graduating juniors, the club promoted players, in the year they would turn 20, to senior ranks.
The club has the view that this policy better develops young talent at both ends of the spectrum – exposing them to the best level of football at the earliest opportunity.
Last Saturday the Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts were opposed to University in the Grand Final. The respective positions of the clubs were evident, with a more mature University combination claiming victory 6.14 (50) to 3.0 (18).
While the margin might have indicated a lop-sided performance, the Beach produced an outstanding effort to progress to the grand final. They were relentless in the second semi-final, their pressure intense, as they inflicted the first defeat of the season on the Scholars.
They could not replicate that performance last Saturday, but it was not for want of trying.
The Beach kicked the first goal of the game, the result of a bone-jarring tackle from Caiden Eaton and it was a fine start in what was an entertaining opening term.
University led by three points at the first change, but dominated the second term creating 17 inside forward 50 entries to just two. In the circumstances, the defensive effort of the back half was exceptional, conceding the only goal for the quarter approaching the 18-minute mark.
That two-goal margin blew out to 20 points at three-quarter time and the Beach resistance appeared broken. Uni controlled the final term as it proved a bridge too far for the Tigers.
Jamie Bennett was a stand-out performer in defence, Luke Hopkins worked hard and ruckman Oskar Tothill committed to the cause, but the Scholars carried too much fire-power.
Result aside, coach John Burton did a fantastic job with his young group while John Vance also took his team to the top of the table after qualifying rounds, the young squad doing the club proud.
To emphasise the club’s policy, seven players who were eligible to play colts, were part of the Lifenet A-Reserves premiership team. Results Phil Scott Colts Grand Final
University 2.3 3.6 5.8 6.14 50 NorthBeach 2.0 2.0 3.0 3.0 18
Goals – NorthBeach: Wells, Sawyer, Eaton.
Best – NorthBeach: Bennett, Hopkins, Tothill.