The nervous anticipation of round one greets players at all levels of the game and it was abundant in the North Beach O’Rourke A-Grade outfit that ventured to Gil Fraser Reserve for the commencement of the Perth Football League season last Saturday.
The pre-season indicators were good. There was confidence that the work had been done, but just how did that stack up against the opposition.
A new senior coach – in Ryan MacKenzie – and a new game plan added to the butterflies and the degree of the unknown.
After a cautious start, the Beach got into their work, built cohesion and grew in confidence on their way to an impressive 24-point victory – 10.12 (72) to 7.6 (48).
Emerging youngster Shannon Lucassen provided a match highlight with a mark-of-the-year contender and then went back to complete his work by slotting one of his four goals.
Simon Tunbridge enjoyed his return to kick a couple of goals while Kyle Cranley led the charge in the ruck, Sam Lamont was brilliant at ground level and another youngster, Jackson Martino enhanced his growing status in senior ranks.
Additionally, Ned Halley was solid in defence, star recruit Braden Lawler and Adam Swain were tireless in the midfield and Dylan Campbell will benefit from his first major hit-out in more than 12 months.
The downside, however, was a serious foot injury to captain Mitch Gill.
The more things change, the more they stay the same and vastly different Lifenet A-Reserves outfit produced a dominant 63-point win over the Maggies.
The benchmark of the competition for the last decade, the twos, under new coach Mark Kerns dominated after quarter time in winning 14.11 (95) to 5.2 (32), with Chris Wells producing a stellar performance off half-back to ignite his team.
Kade McKenzie played with trademark grunt in the midfield, while Tim Edwards provided his usual run, Jordan Webster was influential and Josh Chapman consistently gave the Beach ground level players first use of the ball.
Ben Johnson was dangerous up forward, finishing with four goals while Joel Brown and Tully Wickstein enjoyed the step up to the Reserves.
The Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts opened their season in emphatic fashion, winning 19.9 (123) to 4.6 (30).
The standard was set through the midfield with captain Justin Prior and Kobi Martin able to consistently win the contested ball and send it forward, where Callum O’Shea, in particular, capitalised on the wave of opportunities.
O’Shea kicked seven goals, while in defence Harper Baron-Hay and Ben Perkins were solid. On a day when nine players debuted coach John Burton was pleased with the way they connected and implemented aspects of the game plan that had been the pre-season focus.
North Beach 1.3 3.6 7.9 10.12 72
North Frem 1.1 5.1 5.4 7.6 48
Goals – North Beach: Lucassen 4; Cranley, Tunbridge 2; Lamont, Bottechia.
Best – North Beach: Lawler, Lucassen, Cranley, Lamont, Martino, Halley, Tunbridge.
North Beach 1.3 6.7 8.11 14.11 95
North Frem 1.1 2.1 4.1 5.2 32
Goals – North Beach: Johnson 4; Brown, Wickstein 2; Edwards, Webster, Hall, N Wells, Emery, DeCourtenay.
Best – North Beach: C Wells, McKenzie, Webster, Thompson, Josh Chapman, Johnson, Edwards.
North Beach 19.9 (123) def North Fremantle 4.6 (30)
Goals – North Beach: O’Shea 7.
Best – North Beach: O’Shea, Prior, Baron-Hay, Coutas, Caccamo, Blackburn, Martin.
Depth On Show Again
The incredible depth of North Beach has been on abundant display for years and the indicators are that the talent pool again will run deep in 2022.
While there may have been a large turn-over of personnel, the results in the third and fourth grades remained the same with both teams scoring powerful victories over North Fremantle at Charles Riley Reserve.
The Hybrid Linings C4-Grade won by 119 points while the Beast Carpet Cleaning C4-Reserves were even more convincing, handing out a 156-point defeat to the Maggies, who have been traditionally strong down the grades.
With matches moving from 20-minute quarters to 25 minutes this season, that played out nicely for the Beach with fitness levels evident of a productive pre-season through the senior group.
David Purser, Marc Crisp and Liam Hunter were prime movers while Jarrod Chapman controlled the game in the back half and Mitch Cameron kicked five goals in the 18.20 (128) to 1.3 (9) romp.
Sam Zehnder and the C4-Reserves got away to a flier, Zehnder bagging 11 goals to start the 2022 campaign with a bang. He was a stand-out performer in the 25.14 (164) to 1.2 (8) victory, capitalising on the flood of opportunities generated by the midfield dominance of Vaughn Quinlan and Ben McAuliffe while small forwards Mitch and Jayden Hunt were also lively. Caiden Eaton was also impressive as the link-up player at half-forward.
The Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts started strongly against North Fremantle with 15 inside 50s in the opening term but did not get a return on their control.
That swung in the second quarter when they rattled on six goals which set them on the path to a 52-point triumph – 14.5 (89) to 6.1 (37).
Harry Corderoy was outstanding off half-back while skipper Ronan Rose and Tyler Thomas patrolled midfield with authority while Kai Jones and Lachie Graber were a constant threat.
Chris, Tim, Andy and Mark were all involved in a spirited performance that ended in a 49-point loss to Collegians – 6.7 (43) to 13.14 (92).
The GJ Osplumb E4-Grade suffered heaviest from the knock-on effects of COVID through the club, scrambling for numbers, and that was reflected in a 92-point defeat at the hands of Carlisle.
North Beach 4.5 7.11 10.15 18.20 128
North Frem 0.2 0.2 1.3 1.3 9
Goals – North Beach: M Cameron 5; Adler, Hunter 3; McColgan, Torre 2; Baroni, Crisp, Purser.
Best – North Beach: Purser, Chapman, Cameron, Crisp, Hunter, Sheard.
North Beach 7.2 13.5 19.10 25.14 164
North Frem 1.1 1.1 1.2 1.2 8
Goals – North Beach: Zehnder 11; M Hunt 3; Cuzens, J Hunt 2; Eaton, Hingston, Osborne, Pollard, Quinlan, Ugle, Vozzo.
Best – North Beach: Zehnder, M Hunt, J Hunt, Quinlan, McAuliffe, Eaton.
North Beach 2.1 8.1 10.2 14.5 89
North Frem 0.0 2.0 4.1 6.1 37
Goals – North Beach: Jones 4; Graber 2; R Rose, B Smith, Castiglioni, P Rose, J Smith.
Best – North Beach: Corderoy, Jones, Thomas, Graber, R Rose, Reid.
Collegians 3.4 8.6 11.7 13.14 92
North Beach 2.2 3.4 6.5 6.7 43
Goals – North Beach: –
Best – North Beach: Steffenson, Sisarich, Kerman, Cooper, Llanwarne.
Carlisle 4.3 6.8 11.14 16.18 114
North Beach 1.0 1.3 1.4 3.4 22
Goals – North Beach: –
Best – North Beach: –