Cranley joins North Beach elite

Kyle Cranley joined the ranks of North Beach’s finest, winning the Brian Kiely Medal last Saturday night.

Kyle Cranley, one of the outstanding players of the current era at North Beach Football Club, took away the major prize from the Club Champion Awards last Saturday night.

The athletic big man joined the ranks of the club’s finest when he won the Brian Kiely Medal as the fairest and best player in the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team.

Runner-up to  Dan Leishman last season – and runner-up to midfielder Joey Deegan in the   BJ Jamieson Medal for the fairest and best player in the Perth Football League A-Grade competition this year – Cranley finally gabbed the lion’s share of the spotlight.

He was a decisive winner, despite missing a game through injury, from Sam Lamont, who won the prestigious award in 2018. Cranley polled 75 votes with Lamont next best on 50 votes.

To emphasise the outstanding season that Cranley enjoyed, he also won the valued player-of-the-finals gong.

While capacity at club headquarters was reduced by CODID-19 restrictions, there was still a strong representation across all grades and a healthy sprinkling of revered life members, sponsors and dignitaries in the room.

Perhaps the most raucous reception of the night erupted when Novak Smith was announced as a life member. A selfless contributor to the club who has coached and played in the lower grades for many years, he also assisted by providing support to the club’s female teams in 2020.

Poignantly, he was presented with his life membership medallion by another stalwart of the lower grades – and current coach of the Integrated Rules team –his close mate Peter Panagopoulos.

The best clubman award was presented to Ben De Rosa – another popular decision. De Rosa, the club’s treasurer, works feverishly off-field, helped to set up some virtual ‘Thursday Night Live’ shows to keep members connected when the club was in lock-down and produced some elite financial forecasts that enabled the club to plan with some certainty at an unsure time around the fiscal risks of 2020.

The Lifenet A-Reserves and the Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts were also feted as the club’s 2020 premiership teams, while Toby Anscombe, forced into retirement from the Grange Residential Integrated Rules, was presented with a framed guernsey.

Below is a list of all award winners across the grades:

O’Rourke Realty A Grade

Grade Award Winner
A Grade Brian Kiely Medal Fairest and Best Kyle Cranley – 75 Votes
A Grade Runner Up Fairest and Best Sam Lamont – 50 Votes
A Grade Player of the Finals Kyle Cranley – 20 Votes
A Grade Leading Goal Kicker Ryan Ekert – 16 Goals
A Grade Player Choice Luke Symonds

Lifenet A Reserves

Grade Award Winner
A Reserve Fairest and Best Ben Sweeny – 86 Votes
A Reserve Runner Up Fairest and Best Nic Bowe – 63 Votes
A Reserve Player of the Finals Ben Sweeny – 29 Votes
A Reserve Leading Goal Kicker Ben Johnson – 21 Goals
A Reserve Rising Star Conor Boylan

Project Ceilings A grade Women

Grade Award Winner
A Grade Women Fairest and Best Emily Sainty – 54 Votes
A Grade Women Runner Up Fairest and Best Tessa Anderson – 46 Votes
A Grade Women Players Player Award Anna Laycock
A Grade Women Coaches Award Ashley Pianto
A Grade Women Outstanding Leadership Award Stephanie Ball

Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts

Grade Award Winner
Phil Scott Colts Fairest and Best Lachlan Scurria – 56 votes
Phil Scott Colts Runner Up Fairest and Best Jackson Martino – 54 Votes
Phil Scott Colts Leading Goal Kicker Caiden Eaton – 22 Goals
Phil Scott Colts Outstanding Leadership Alex Thompson
Phil Scott Colts Best Positional Player Craig Bothe

Hybrid Linings C5 Grade

Grade Award Winner
C5 Grade Fairest and Best Craig Hall – 52 Votes
C5 Grade Runner Up Fairest and Best Aran O’Connell – 32 Votes
C5 Grade Runner Up Fairest and Best Nicholas Marsh – 32 Votes
C5 Grade Player of the Finals Craig Hall – 14 Votes
C5 Grade Leading Goal Kicker Sam Zehnder – 15 Goals
C5 Grade Most Consistent Ryan Clapham

Coast to Coast Imports C5 Reserve

Grade Award Winner
C5 Reserve Fairest and Best Jack Steel – 71 Votes
C5 Reserve Runner Up Fairest and Best Brennen Irvine – 60 Votes
C5 Reserve Player of the Finals Corey Jennis – 18 Votes
C5 Reserve Player of the Finals Ryan O’Donoghue – 18 Votes
C5 Reserve Leading Goal Kicker Nathan Adler – 35 Goals
C5 Reserve Rising Star James Sullivan

Beyond Tools C4 Grade

Grade Award Winner
C4 Grade Fairest and Best Mitch Tobin – 40 Votes
C4 Grade Runner Up Fairest and Best Ben Evans – 39 Votes
C4 Grade Most Determined Levi Cooper
C4 Grade Most Consistent Xavier Williamson
C4 Grade Best Utility Owen Orr-Young

CJ Osplumb C4 Reserve

Grade Award Winner
C4 Reserve Fairest and Best Jacob Willis – 66 Votes
C4 Reserve Runner Up Fairest and Best Michael Humphry – 52 Votes
C4 Reserve Best Teammate Tim Elphick
C4 Reserve Most Consistent Josh Veroni
C4 Reserve Rising Star Chris Gamble

Peak Body Fitness C3 Women

Grade Award Winner
C3 Women Fairest and Best Ameila Davies – 44 Votes
C3 Women Runner Up Fairest and Best Taylah McGorlick – 33 Votes
C3 Women Best Defensive Player Chelsea Cowling
C3 Women Rising Star Kaitlin Koh
C3 Women Players Player Award Michelle Vuaillat

Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts

Grade Award Winner
Brett Jones Colts Fairest and Best Connor Pollard – 47 Votes
Brett Jones Colts Runner Up Fairest and Best Benjamin Hodge – 34 Votes
Brett Jones Colts Player of the Finals Jacob Irwin – 14 Votes
Brett Jones Colts Leading Goal Kicker George Mortimer – 15 Goals
Brett Jones Colts Coaches Award Peter Jolley

Life membership: Novak Smith

Clubman of Year: Ben De Rosa

A-Reserves complete four-peat

The defensive effort in finals football is so often the cornerstone of success.

There has been no better example of it than last Saturday at Steel Blue Oval when the North Beach Lifenet A-Reserves won their fourth consecutive premiership.

Clinging to a 15-point advantage at three-quarter time – and with Curtin University-Wesley kicking with the aid of a strong breeze – the Beach needed to make it a grind. A game of repeat stoppages.

They did that to perfection and endured 5.8 (38) to 4.8 (32) in a remarkable transformation.

After losing to Wesley in the second semi-final by nine goals, the Beach produced a stunning performance to win their fourth flag in succession from five consecutive A-Reserves appearances under coach Scott Holbrook.

While the archetypal defensive performance in the gripping final term completed the triumph, victory was set up by a wonderful third term. They don’t call it the premiership quarter without justification.

In wet, soggy conditions on a Bassendean surface that was already water-logged, the Beach kicked half of their score in that 18 minute period.

With ruckmen Alex Coleman and Josh Chapman controlling the hit outs, Nic Bowe and Tim Edwards relishing the conditions at ground level, and tigerish small forward Travis Burton setting the example for tenacity, the Beach broke the game open with three goals.

The experience of defenders Jarrod Chapman and Ben Sweeny was important down back as they repelled countless opposition attacking thrusts in a desperate last quarter, while Matt Murray continued his good form and Adam Swain was also an important contributor.

Poignantly, Sweeny had the ball in his hands, after Wesley had scrambled a late behind, and was preparing to bring the ball back into play when the siren sounded on what was a remarkable performance.

It was seen as a good omen for the day as the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade outfit targeted a similar reward, but unfortunately the good vibe was not continued for the major game.      

Lifenet A-Reserves
Grand Final
North Beach       2.2          2.5          5.8          5.8          38
Curtin-Wesley   1.0          2.4          3.5          4.8          32
Goals – North Beach: Burton 2; Boylan, Brooks, Johnson.
Best – North Beach: Sweeny, Bowe, Edwards, Jarrod Chapman, Josh Chapman, Burton, Murray, Swain.

No dream result

Steve Mansfield calls for a handball from Blake Piggott

Visualising how grand final day will pan out, no one ever imagines the emptiness of defeat.

Thought processes are always positive, thinking about the spoils of victory. Coaches and players will play through their mind’s eye the mechanics of achieving success, rolling through the process over and over.

They think about the methods and execution of the game plan. In this instance, the things that carried the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team to last Saturday’s grand final and nine wins from 10 games.

But a couple of hours after the first bounce, it was a whole different array of emotions that the North Beach players, coaches and members had to deal with, having lost to Scarborough by 27 points – 9.4 (58) 4.7 (31).

Nothing really fell into place on a wet and boggy Steel Blue Oval, with Scarborough winning the toss and kicking with the breeze. They established an early advantage and never surrendered control.

The Beach tried to work their way back into the match and were still only a couple of goals down in the third quarter and the balance of play had swung.

But Scarborough rattled on four goals at the back end of the quarter to establish a game-breaking advantage.

Ruckman Kyle Cranley and Steve Mansfield did all they could to initiate some midfield control, forward James Garcia was the most lively and threatening of the Beach forwards while Luke Symonds, Dan Leishman and Chris Bottechia were strong in defence.

O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Grand Final
Scarborough       3.2          5.3          9.3          9.4          58
North Beach       1.2          3.3          4.5          4.7          31
Goals – Scarborough: Baker, Vallelonga 2; Sheehan, Ashman, Robilliard, Reddell, McPhee. North Beach: Lamont, Garcia, Dwyer, Leishman.
Best – Scarborough: Vellelonga, Ashman, Re, Baker, Robilliard, McPhee. North Beach: Cranley, Mansfield, Symonds, Garcia, Leishman, Bottechia.

Paap aims to break drought

The last time the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team won the Perth Football League grand final, Shane Paap was part of the successful team.

That was in 2010 when the Beach won their seventh successive flag under the tutelage of Bill Duckworth, their 10th in 12 seasons. Paap kicked three goals and was an integral part of a team that completely out-pointed Whitford.

A decade later the Beach is still searching for its 14th A-Grade premiership and Paap is now at the helm, trying to usher in another successful era as his team lines up against arch rivals Scarborough in what looms as an intriguing battle.

In his third season as senior coach, he went agonisingly close to taking his team to a grand final in 2018, denied by a miraculous goal in the dying seconds of the preliminary final and then lost an elimination final last year.

In this truncated season, the two clubs have met just once, resulting in a solid victory for the Beach over the Sea Eagles.

Everyone knows that accounts for little, especially after Scarborough’s gutsy win over Curtin University-Wesley, who finished at the top of the table after the qualifying rounds before losing by a point to North Beach and then 10 points in the preliminary final.

The advantage for Paap and his charges is that they enjoyed the week off to refresh and re-set while Scarborough and Wesley slugged it out in atrocious conditions last Saturday.

The secret to success for Paap and his team this year has been its belief and unity. They have hung tough in difficult circumstances, have persevered in tight matches and have generally found a way. That should give them great confidence going into the most significant match of the season.

Again they will look to ruckman Kyle Cranley and midfielders Adam Cockie, Joey Deegan, who won the CJ Jamieson Medal for the best player in the competition, Steve Mansfield and Craig Hosakins to lead the way.

From defence they will seek the rebound and running power of Dan Leishman to have an influence while Luke Symonds and Ned Halley will have important assignments against dangerous Scarborough forwards Mark Re and Scott Worthington.

The inventive James Garcia, captain Mitch Dwyer and Beau Witheridge, who played in that 2010 premiership will also look to hit the scoreboard.

For the fifth successive season Scott Holbrook will have the Lifenet A-Reserves in the grand final as he hunts four straight premierships. In 2016 they were denied by just four points against University but he has steered his team to success in the last three grand finals.

If the club can win with both games, it will be the first time in a decade they have won the two  senior premierships. And Holbrook a long-time servant of the club and multiple A-Grade premiership player, was a member of the reserves team on that day.

O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Grand Final
North Beach v Scarborough, Steel Blue Oval, 2.45pm

Lifenet A-Reserves
Grand Final
Curtin University-Wesley v North Beach, Steel Blue Oval, 12.35pm

Winning ugly and a tough loss

Finals footy is rarely aesthetically pleasing. It’s about getting the job done, rather than worrying about smooth transition and precise skill execution.

It’s usually about winning the contested footy, edging the ball forward in any way possible. And then finding a way to finish off the grunt work.

There has been no better example of doing what’s needed than the Lifenet A-Reserves who last week advanced to their fifth successive grand final in what could be best termed the archetypal grinding victory.

The prevailing conditions, strong, squalling winds and sleeting rain made for an unpleasant environment, but that did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the Beach as they endured 2.6 (18) to 1.9 (15) against University.

It was never going to be pretty, but the result certainly was in what was a mature and determined performance.

Seasoned campaigners like Nic Bowe, Jarrod Chapman and Ben Sweeny were catalysts in the workmanlike performance while Conor Boylan, Josh Chapman and Travis Burton were at the other end of spectrum and showed the future of the club is in good hands.

The Coast to Coast Imports C5-Grade ran into a quality Curtin University-Wesley outfit in their grand final and found them difficult to counter, losing 10.5 (65) to 2.7 (15).

There were a number of players in the Wesley team that boasted WAFL experience and many others who had played in senior premierships with the club in the middle part of those decade and their experience and class proved insurmountable.

It was not through want of trying, however, and the Beach gave all they had.

The boys arrived ready to play. The warm-up was on point and the boys seemed excited. After the national anthem, our co-captains Joel Brown and Aaron Miller went up and shook hands with the umpires and the opposition captain.

Unfortunately the Beach lost the toss and a significant breeze gave Wesley the early advantage out of the gate and they took it with both hands. At the first break North Beach trailed 3.2 to 0.1 and were playing catch-up thereafter.

While the Beach dominated the second quarter in terms of possession and time in forward 50, they did not convert chances in front of goal, kicking 1.5 to Wesley Curtin’s 1.1, which was a major factor.

After half time, the focus was based on limiting Wesley Curtin’s influence with the wind. That was achieved, scoring 1.2 apiece, but after losing key target Tom Orford to a serious ankle injury in the third quarter, the Beach was a man down on the bench.

The wind subsided and although the Beach fought valiantly and tried to attack at all stages, Wesley took advantage of turn-overs and were destructive on the counter-attack.

Lifenet A-Reserves
Preliminary Final
North Beach       0.1          0.1          2.2          2.6          18
University           0.2          0.7          0.9          1.9          15
Goals – North Beach : Tothill, Foley.
Best – North Beach: Boylan, Bowe, Jarrod Chapman, Sheeny, Josh Chapman, Burton.

Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reservces
Grand Final
Curtin-Wesley   3.2          4.3          5.5          10.5        65
North Beach       0.1          1.5          2.7            2.7        19
Goals – North Beach: Adler, Christie.
Best – North Beach: Evans, O’Donoghue, Sullivan, Brown, Adler, B Irvine

Glory comes to Beach colts

Coach Joel Gray and captain Ben Hodge celebrate victory. Photo – Grante Lorje Photography

In his own words
By Joel Gray

Blustery conditions in Bentley awaited the Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts on the day of the big dance. Our boys had been hoping this day would come around all year and finally it had arrived. The camaraderie, spirit and belief amongst the group was as strong as it had ever been all season. Just one game away from glory. So simple to imagine, an entirely different thing to realise.

North Beach decided to kick with the breeze in the first quarter but things did not quite go to plan. Whilst the contest was fierce and pressure intense it was Collegians who handled the heat better initially. They were first to the ball at almost every contest with their half back line proving difficult to break through and providing plenty of rebound run.

North Beach would go into quarter time two and a bit goals down, having only scored one point after seemingly squandering our first crack with the breeze. As the quarter time huddle formed the weather only strengthened with rain beginning to spit and the wind getting stronger.

An uphill battle in the second quarter faced our Tigers boys but not one player doubted we were up to the challenge. Collegians struck first blood quickly in the second and established a formidable three-goal lead.

But this setback only spurred our boys to lift to another gear. Harry Quayle won the tap at the centre bounce and Mitch Hunt roved beautifully to send the Beach forward. Zach Farrell laid a crucial tackle deep in the forward pocket and won himself a holding the ball decision before coolly slotting the snap from the tightest of angles.

North Beach were on the board and there was no looking back. The midfield guns began to gain ascendancy at the coal face and backman Karl Sauerwein was able to shut down Collegians’ most dangerous forward and repel the next few entries.

Brendan Naylor, one of our shining lights from the first quarter, made it his mission to find us a way forward any way he could with gut busting running up and down the wing all quarter.

Things were starting to go our way and when Jacob Irwin slotted a remarkable set shot from 45m out hard against the boundary it was obvious something pretty special was in motion. A brilliant effort to win the second quarter against the breeze and go into half time only a goal down had swung the course of events.

The third quarter was all North Beach. Forward entry after forward entry was demoralising the Collegians defenders but the Tigers couldn’t quite capitalise on the scoreboard.

Champion midfielder Connor Pollard put together one of the most dominant displays of the season and had the ball on an absolute string from half time onwards. Ben Tindall’s pace and grit was too much for the Collegians forward line to contain and North Beach’s half forward line began to get off the chain.

Beach’s courageous captain Ben Hodge was able to pick off an errant kick out of Collegians backline before delivering a laser guided bullet to the chest of centre half forward James Quinn 30m out from goal.

Quinn would go back to slot it and level the scores as the massive North Beach supporter contingent went nuts on the boundary line.

Another centre clearance from Pollard honoured Lachie McLeod’s strong lead from half forward who was able to win a push in the back free kick. A bit of lip from the Collegians defender gave McLeod a set shot 20m out to put Beach in the lead for the first time all day and he made no mistake.

At three quarter time North Beach could taste victory but we were still only a goal up and would be kicking against the breeze in the last term.

A dogfight ensued in the fourth with neither side prepared to give the other an inch. North Beach key backman Blair Wilson put together one of the most masterful displays of defensive marking you will ever see, intercepting four or five long kicks inside the Beach back 50.

Jacob Della Santa showed class and skill to shrug off a would be tackler, before selling candy to another and taking a left handed bounce mid step to send Beach inside forward 50 in what was one of the highlights of the match.

The best of all would come not long after when Jacob Irwin laid an extraordinary holding the ball tackle in the forward pocket right in front of the massive contingent of North Beach supporters on the boundary. After kicking a critical goal in the second he went back and slotted the even more impossible sealer from right on the boundary 40m out.

Collegians managed one late reply with a minute to go but the damage had been done and North Beach ran down the clock until the final siren. It was an incredibly satisfying victory and one that won’t soon be forgotten by those who witnessed it.

North Beach       0.1          2.2          4.3          5.5          35
Collegians            2.2          3.2          3.2          4.3          27
Goals – North Beach: J Irwin 2; Quinn, Farrell. McLeod.
Best – North Beach: C. Pollard, J. Irwin, H. Quayle, B. Naylor, B. Wilson

Going south to bring success North

Ben Sweeny…has led from the front for the Lifenet A-Reserves all season

Two venues south of the river will be the centre of North Beach’s attention this week as two teams play off for premierships and another attempts to qualify for the grand final.

While the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade use the week to prepare for the big dance next week after winning a gripping second semi-final last week, the Lifenet A-Reserves return to South Oval in an effort to join the senior team on the competition’s biggest day.

Out-pointed by a quality Wesley-Curtin outfit last week, Scott Holbrook will be looking for a response from his charges against University at South Oval tomorrow.

After winning three premierships in succession at this level, the Beach will be looking to find their best form again. Players like Nic Bowe, Ben Sweeny and Conor Boylan, who have set benchmarks all season, will be looking to lead from the front.

Meanwhile, at Wyong Reserve, two teams are hunting premiership pennants.

The Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts will confront Collegians in the grand final at Wyong Reserve and the Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves will be playing for similar rewards against Curtin University-Wesley.

The Brett Jones Colts will be looking to Lachie McLeod to lead the charge along with others like Ben Hodge, George Mortimer, James Quinn and Mitch Hunt.

The C5-Reserves have been led brilliant by Jack Steel throughout the year, evidenced by his win in the competition fairest and best count, while Nathan Adler has been a reliable focal point up forward and others like Brennen Irvine, Joel  Brown and Ben Evans have been strong contributors throughout this abbreviated 2020 campaign.

Fixtures, Saturday September 19
Lifenet A-Reserves
Preliminary Final
North Beach v University, South Oval, 1.05pm

Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves
Grand Final
Curtin University-Wesley v North Beach, Wyong Reserve, 12.35pm

Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts
Grand Final
North Beach v Collegians, Wyong Reserve, 10.25am

Beach advances in thriller

Captain Mitch Dwyer was inspiring for the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade against Curtin University-Wesley.

The O’Rourke Realty A-Grade advanced to their second grand final in four years with a gripping one-point victory over Curtin University Wesley at South Oval last Saturday.

After skipping away to a 28-point advantage in the middle of the last quarter, there were heart palpitations for the North Beach faithful as Curtin rattled on four quick goals in the dying minutes, before the Beach held on to win 9.12 (66) to 10.5 (65).

It would have been a travesty for the Beach to have lost a game they controlled for most of the day and doubtless coach Shane Paap and his players will focus on the brand of footy that saw them kick away to be in a commanding position.

That was based around effort, pressure and intensity, forcing the opposition into error with their committed approach to both the ball and their opponents.

The triumph was built around the work of ruckman Kyle Cranley, who was outstanding and demonstrated why he is regarded as the best big man in the competition. Runner-up in the CJ Jamieson Medal to teammate Joey Deegan on Wednesday night, Cranley was effective at stoppages, but also worked hard around the ground.

Defenders Liam Catalfamo and Dan Leishman provided strong rebound out of the back half, while Ned Halley continued his ultra-consistent season, and Adam Cockie was a bull around stoppages.

Veterans Mitch Dwyer and Beau Witheridge were energised and James Garcia was lively in the forward half.

Wesley will now play Scarborough in the preliminary final, with the winner earning the right to play North Beach for the premiership at Steel Blue Oval next Saturday.

Unfortunately for the Lifenet A-Reserves, they had a bad day against a talent-laden opposition, with Wesley Curtin dominating the second semi-final to win by 56 points.

North Beach finished the qualifying season undefeated and earned the double chance. They used their life line and remain in the hunt for a fourth successive flag under Scott Holbrook.

Little went right from the outset and will now play University to earn another crack at Wesley.

Experienced leaders Nic Bowe and Ben Sweeny were resilient while Conor Boylan and Oskar Tothill also stood out.

The Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts started well in their first semi-final against Trinity Aquinas, failed to get maximum return on the scoreboard and then faded to an eight-point loss.

While a disappointing defeat, the Beach had the majority of its team playing their first season of colts which augurs well for the future.

Ruckman Craig Bothe, midfielder Alex Thompson, Lachlan Scurria and Jarrod Thompson all made strong contributions, but they could not match the energy and drive of their opposition.

O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Second semi-final
North Beach       3.2          6.5          7.10        9.12        66
Curtin-Wesley   2.0          4.0          6.2          10.5        65
Goals – North Beach: Leishman, Lamont 2; Gill, Mansfield, McGuinness, Dwyer, Garcia.
Best – North Beach: Cranley, Catalfamo, Leishman, Halley, Cockie, Dwyer, Witheridge, Garcia.

Lifenet A-Reserves
Second semi-final
Curtin-Wesley   2.1          4.2          5.4          8.9          57
North Beach       0.0          0.1          0.1          0.1            1
Best – North Beach: Bowe, Sweeny, Boylan, Tothill.

Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
First semi-final
Trinity Aquinas  1.1          3.2          4.6          7.9          51
North Beach       2.4          3.5          5.5          6.7          43
Goals – North Beach: Brooks 2; Kirkpatrick, J Thompson, Tunnis, Eaton.
Best – North Beach: Bothe, A Thompson, Scurria, J Thompson, Brown, Bellouard.

The ecstasy and pain of finals

Aaran O’Connell…another strong contribution for the Hybrid Linings C5-Grade

The higher stakes of finals football are matched by the emotions of victory and defeat.

The ecstasy of victory carries spirits and energy through the roof; the despair of losing crashes them through the floor.

Unfortunately for the Hybrid Linings C5-Grade and the Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves, they felt the kick of both feelings last Saturday.

The C5-Reserves won a pulsating preliminary final victory over University, driving scenes of sheer joy post-match. A couple of hours later and the vibe could not have been more stark when the C5-Grade dipped out of the competition after a gripping loss to North Fremantle.

Just a few weeks earlier, in the regular season, the C5-Reserves fell to a slick University outfit at McGillivray Oval and with a couple of key injuries to regular defenders, first-year coach Jack Flynn was a little concerned.

But he need not have worried. As a collective, the team covered for the deficiencies and did not allow University’s key forwards to impact the game and scored an impressive 21-point victory – 8.10 (48) to 5.7 (37).

Midfielder Jack Steel, rewarded for a stellar season by winning the competition medal on Wednesday night, led the charge, along with Corey Jennis and Ryan O’Donoghue who were asked to play the key defensive posts.

After an even first half, the Beach exploded in the all-important third quarter on the back of further strong contributions from Caleb Davis, Joel Brown, Matthew Morrison and Nathan Adler, who provided a focal point up forward and kicked three goals.

For the C5-Grade, the loss to North Fremantle was tough to take. They had their chances, but were not quite as adept at capitalising on those opportunities as they would have liked, the end result being a nine-point loss – 7.6 (48) to 9.3 (57).

Again the Beach held sway in a tight first half, but the Maggies dominated the third quarter with the breeze, rattling on a game breaking five goals.

After losing to North Fremantle by just three points a fortnight earlier, coach Glen Hinkley targeted a handful of key opposition players that were influential in that first meeting. And that plan worked – none of those individuals had an influence on the contest.

However, with the Magpies having just one senior side in the finals, and with eight changes to the side they fielded in the previous encounter, other players who escaped the pre-game planning impacted the game.

In the end it was just 12 minutes of football in the third quarter that proved costly.

The Beach were brave and never relented, but they found an opposition who were better on the day.

Importantly, looking forward, two players with a big future at the club, Jamie Bennett and Blake Sawyer, were among the best for the Beach.

Hybrid Linings C5-Grade
Preliminary Final
North Frem         3.0          4.1          9.2          9.3          57
North Beach       2.1          5.3          6.4          7.6          48
Goals – North Beach: Sawyer 3; Campbell, McColgan, Rollo, Wickstein.
Best – Bennett, Sawyer, A O’Connell, Dwyer, De Rosa, Fitzroy.

Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves
Preliminary Final
North Beach       1.1          3.3          7.7          8.10        58
University           1.2          3.4          3.5          5.7          37
Goals – North Beach: Adler 3; Davis, Tobin, Cahill, Christie.
Best – North Beach: Steel, Jennis, O’Donoghue, Davis, Brown, Morrison, Adler.










Beach kicks off A-Grade finals

Mitch Gill in action against Scarborough

After an outstanding, albeit abbreviated qualifying round season, the stakes are now raised with just four clubs remaining around the Perth Football League A-Grade poker table.

Six clubs made their exit last week and now the price of victory and defeat is intensified.

The O’Rourke Realty A-Grade lost just one game during the nine-game qualifying round season, finishing second on the ladder to Curtin University-Wesley, the only team to beat the Beach all season.

The Beach travels to Curtin’s home venue keen to atone for that loss, with the prize for victory being a place in the grand final.

Curtin University won the B-Grade grand final last year and have made the transition to A-Grade comfortably. They are well drilled by coach Craig White and have a plethora of players with WAFL experience.

The Beach has also been ultra-consistent and will take high confidence into the match, given their 8-1 season and the fact that they were able to find a way to get over the line in some tight matches. Big finals are often determined by a will to win, a penchant for the contest and belief in getting the job.

The Beach has those traits in spades.

Through Joey Deegan, Adam Cockie, James Garcia, Mitchell Gill and Sam Lamont there is an abundance of class, while the personality of the team is exemplified in current skipper Mitch Dwyer and predecessor Beau Witheridge.

And the club boasts the best ruckman in the competition through Kyle Cranley, who has enjoyed an outstanding season.

In addition there is a neat mix of lock-down and rebound defenders in the back half through Luke Symonds, Dan Leishman and Ned Halley.

This looms as an intriguing contest with both clubs keen to acquire the first ticket into the grand final.

The Lifenet A-Reserves, chasing their fourth premiership in succession under Scott Holbrook, finished on top of the table and will also play Curtin University-Wesley at South Oval.

The Beach did not lose a game, but this is a new season with the four remaining contenders all capable of winning the title.

Again there is some class in the North Beach line-up, with Ben Johnson enjoying a fine season up forward and the likes of Nic Bowe, Sean Foley, Ben Sweeny and Oskar Tothill also ultra-consistent throughout the year.

The Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts had to win last week to lock down a finals spot and they now play Trinity Aquinas in a cut-throat final at Morris Buzzacott Reserve.

John Burton has the young Beach boys playing quality football at the right time of the year and are a definite threat coming from third place. They have no choice but to take it one week at a time because for every game they win from here, the next is sudden death.

Through players like Alex Thompson, Lachlan Scurria, Lachlan Thomas and Tai Kirkpatrick, they have players with a little X-factor that is always important in big games.

O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Second semi-final
Curtin University-Wesley v North Beach, South Oval, 2.45pm

Lifenet A-Reserves
Second semi-final
North Beach v Curtin University-Wesley, South Oval, 1.05pm

Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
First semi-final
North Beach v Trinity Aquinas, Morris Buzzacott Reserve, 11.25am

Hybrid Linings C5-Grade
Preliminary final
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Oval, 2.30pm

Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts