Beach finds a way – again

Dion Cownie, two goals in the last five minutes steered the Beach to victory

The modus operandi of the North Beach A-Grade team this season has been that in tight games they have found a way.

Occasionally they have manoeuvred through a minefield in the dark, somehow finding the key to victory in the dying seconds, and while it was not quite that dramatic, they left it late before enduring 7.8 (5) to 6.11 (47).

Last Saturday against North Fremantle at Gil Fraser Oval was yet another example, when the O’Rourke Realty team, playing a top two position came home with a late charge to score an important three-point victory over the Magpies.

Experienced midfielder/forward Dion Cownie shined a light, kicking two important late goals to put the Beach in front for the first time in the game. The second of those came with just a couple of minutes on the clock and enabled North Beach to win despite giving North Fremantle the best part of a five goal start.

On a day with a fluky breeze, the conditions on the banks of the Swan River were tough, but the Beach ground out a victory with the likes of Andrew McGuinness outstanding, with battle-thirsty Steve Mansfield and Sam Lamont also relishing the challenge.

Matt Holden continued his growth in defence to again produce an important contribution.

The Lifenet A-Reserves, already guaranteed a top two finish, were never under genuine threat from North Fremantle and won 8.11 (59) to 6.9 (45).

Nic Bowe was again in the thick of the action, with Jayden Black offering strong midfield support along with Conor Boylan. Ben Sweeny continued his outstanding season in defence while Dan Ryan and Jordan Webster were also influential.

The Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts had to win to ensure they remained in the finals hunt and completed the assignment with authority.

They set the game up with a sublime first quarter and they surrendered their advantage.

Led by midfielder Alex Thompson and ruckman Craig Bothe and defender Jackson Martino, the Beach carried too much class for the opposition.

O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach       0.2          1.5          3.5          7.8          50
North Frem         4.6          4.8          6.10        6.11        47
Goals – North Beach: Cownie 2; Gill, Deegan, Hoskins, Lamont, McGuinness.
Best – North Beach: McGuinness, Mansfield, Holden, Cownie, Lamont.

Lifenet A-Reserves
North Beach       0.1          3.6          6.10        8.11        59
North Frem         1.4          1.4          4.6          6.9          45
Goals – North Beach: Brooks, Johnson, Tothill 2; Burton, Edwards.
Best – North Beach: Bowe, Black, Sweeny, Boylan, Ryan, Webster.

Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
North Beach       4.1          7.2          10.6        11.8        74
North Frem         0.1          2.1          2.1            3.2        20
Goals – North Beach: Eaton, Bellouard, Brooks, Kirkpatrick 2; Scurria, Tunnis.
Best – North Beach: Thompson, Bothe, Martino, Cooper, Thomas.

Lower grades razor sharp

Tom DeCourtenay…impressive for the Hybrid Linings C5-Grade

The North Beach third and fourth grade teams, as well as the Brett Jones Colts, tuned up for this weekend’s finals series with impressive victories in the last qualifying games  of the season.

The Hybrid Linings C4-Grade warmed up for this week’s first semi-final with a commanding performance against arch rivals Whitford at Charles Riley Reserve.

With key forward George McColgan, one of the most exciting young prospects at the club, leading the charge with a six-goal bag and Adam Clark playing his best game since resuming from a nine-year absence from footy, The Beach were always in control before winning by 36 points – 13.9 (87) to 8.3 (51).

Ruckmen Tom DeCourtenay and Ryan Clapham worked well in tandem while Andy Langsford played with the same grit that has punctuated his career while Mason Rollo and Tully Wickstein were also important.

The Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves will also play a first semi-final and will go in full of confidence  after a whopping 179-point belting of Whitfords.

Led by Nathan Adler, who kicked 10 goals, and another standout performance from Jack Steel who also bagged six goals, the Beach Dominated every moment of this match.

With just 72 minutes of football in the abbreviated format for 2020, their score of 29.11 (185) to 1.0 (6) represented three points a minute – allowing for a little time to get the ball back to the middle after kicking 29 goals.

Ben Evans, Caleb Davis, Khalil Campbell and Tom Orford were also strong contributors in a team performance that had winners in every position on the ground.

The Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts were no less dominant against Kingsway, winning 24.15 (159) to 1.2 (8) as they prepare to play a second semi-final this weekend.

Ben Hodge and George Mortimer each kicked five goals, while Rhys Irvine kicked four in a brilliant team display that has them cherry ripe for a clash with Curtin University-Wesley.

Hybrid Linings C5-Grade
North Beach       4.3          6.5          9.7          13.9        87
Whitfords            0.0          4.2          5.3            8.3        51
Goals – North Beach: McColgan 6; Wickstein 2; Hall, Jennis, A Langsford, M Rollo, Zehnder.
Best – North Beach: McColgan, A Clark, DeCourtenay, Clapham, A Langsford, M Rollo.

Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves
North Beach       6.5          13.7        22.8        29.11     185
Whitfords            0.0            0.0          0.0          1.0             6
Goals – North Beach: Adler 10; Steel 6; Cooper 3; Christie, Orford, Acott 2; Bowden, Sullivan.
Best – North Beach: Steel, Evans, Adler, Davis, Campbell, Orford.

Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts
North Beach       3.5          11.9        17.13     24.15     159
Kingsway             0.0          0.1           0.2           1.2           8
Goals – North Beach: Hodge, Mortimer 5; Irvine 4; Johnstone, Dewar, Howie 2; Hunt, Naylor, Smith, Jolley.
Best – North Beach: Hodge, Mortimer, Irvine, Hunt, Johnstone.

Beach looks to keep it rolling

Adam Swain played a nice cameo against University last week

The equation for the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team is pretty simple. At least in theory: Keep winning and a top two position is a lock; so is a home final.

But there are a couple of major obstacles in the path. The first of them being North Fremantle at Gil Fraser Reserve tomorrow.

While a clash against the seventh-placed Maggies might look like a formality, it won’t be. They are a proud club, playing at home and if the Beach is to be on top of the ladder tomorrow night, they will have earned it.

Coach Shane Paap and his team has lost just once in the first seven rounds of this abbreviated campaign, but it’s tight at the top and the consequences of a slip-up could be extreme.

But the Beach will be looking at the process, of playing their way in this match, ticking an important box and getting set for the final game of the season.

To do that the Beach will need their midfield, so exciting and consistent this season, to maintain standards set through this campaign. Mitch Gill, Craig Hoskins, Blake Piggott, Sam Lamont and Adam Cockie have been exceptional and they will need to reproduce their best.

Kyle Cranley has been a force in the ruck, while the defensive efforts of Daniel Leishman, Ned Halley, Luke Symonds and Simon Tunbridge have also been important.

Up forward Ryan Ekert has made a strong return from a knee reconstruction and the class of James Garcia was been enlightening.

But there is little separating any of the teams in this competition and North Beach knows they must reproduce their best. Captain Mitch Dwyer will certainly impress that upon his teammates, along with Beau Witheridge and Andrew McGuinness.

The Lifenet A-Reserves are guaranteed a top two finish and double chance, sitting on top of the ladder undefeated. They will look to consolidate against fourth-placed North Fremantle while the Plasterwise Phil Scott colts could go a long way towards guaranteeing a finals berth with victory over the Magpies.

They are in third position, but there is concertina of clubs between third and seventh, with just one game separating them.

While they travel to Gil Fraser Reserve, there will be plenty of action at Charles Riley Reserve.

The Hybrid Linings C5-Grade and the Coast to Coast Imports C5-reserves play their final qualifying matches of the season against Whitford and have already locked away a first semi-final position. That is unlikely to change, but they will be keen to take winning form into the finals series.

The Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts are also guaranteed a top two finish and they complete their home and away commitments with a clash against Kingsway.

The Beyond Tools C4-Grade and the GJ Osplumb C4-Reserves will play their last games on Charles Riley Reserve (2) against Osborne Park. After punching well above their weight all season, they might have the opportunity to finish on a winning note against the eighth-placed teams in their respective competitions.

The Grange Residential Integrated Rules team will also fancy their chances of winning when they host Mandurah Mustangs at 11am on Chas Riley (2).

O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Oval, 2.45pm

Lifenet A-Reserves
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Oval, 1.05pm

Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Oval, 11.25am

Hybrid Linings C5-Grade
North Beach v Whitfords, Charles Riley Reserve, 2.20pm

Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves
North Beach v Whitfords, Charles Riley Reserve, 12.40pm

Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts
North Beach v Kingsway, Charles Riley Reserve, 11am

Beyond Tools C4-Grade
North Beach v Osborne Park, Charles Riley Reserve (2), 2.45pm

GJ Osplumb C4-Reserves
North Beach v Osborne Park, Charles Riley Reserve (2), 1.05pm

Grange Residential I-Grade
North Beach v Mandurah Mustangs, Charles Riley Reserve (2), 11am

Clock runs out on thirds

Travis Burton…in good form for the Hybrid Linings C%-Grade

A slow start proved costly for the Hybrid Linings C5-Grade when they fell agonisingly short against North Fremantle where the home ground advantage proved decisive.

The Beach too a little while to get rolling, but were coming home like a tsunami before running out of time and opportunities and losing 6.8 (44) to 7.5 (47).

After a defeat by Uni the previous week in a display that would have undone a lot of sides graded higher than our thirds, the team knew they had to beat the Magpies to secure second spot and the double-chance.

However, it seemed we were still a bit gun-shy after the University game and allowed North Fremantle to kick five goals in the first 20 minutes. It wasn’t through lack of effort nor a willingness to compete, it just looked like the boys were severely lacking in confidence and trust.

So at quarter time with a few tweaks and encouragement the Beach remained positive and played their brand of footy. And it almost worked. After quarter time, we outplayed and outscored them 6.5 to 3.2 and actually kept them scoreless in the last quarter.

If the game had gone another two minutes, we surely would have won such was our dominance. And that included starting the last quarter with just 19 fit players.

It was a gut-wrenching loss but the coaching staff were enormously proud of the players comeback and their courage and commitment against a physically bigger opponent.

Craig Hall again led from the front and after being felled heavily in the third quarter he returned in the last and almost dragged his team over the line. The enormously talented Jack Steel was right with his skipper and his influence on the game was profound.

Travis Burton belies his size with his attack on the ball and led from the front all day, Jacob Fitzroy played his best game of the season and was impassable in the back half while Callum Corbett also responded from a huge hit in the first quarter to finish the game full of running,

James Twomey, in his first game of 3s, shut down two very dangerous forwards.

The Coast to Coast Imports C4-Reserves completely out-pointed, North Fremantle and won 20.20 (140) to 2.2 (14).

With a scoreboard as lop-sided as that, the Beach had winners all over the ground, with Brennen Irvine, Ben Evans and Joel Brown standouts.

Nathan Adler kicked four goals while Levi Cooper and Evans each kicked three. The victory means the fours still have an outside chance of sneaking a top two finish, but everything would need to perfectly fall into place on Saturday.

The Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts produced another sublime performance, winning 22.11 (143) to 0.3 (3).

Once again, with such a dominant team performance there were winners in every position, with George Mortimer, Reef Samuels and Tom Hiotis having a strong impact on the scoreboard.

Unfortunately the Beyond Tools C4-Grade and the GJ Osplumb C4-Reserves, found the opposition overwhelming when they ventured to Piara Waters.

Hybrid Linings C5-Grade
North Frem         4.3          6.4          7.5          7.5          47
North Beach       0.3          3.4          4.4          6.8          44
Goals – North Beach: Hall, Zehnder 2; Jennis, Sawyer.
Best – North Beach: Hall, Steel, Fitzroy, Burton, Corbett, Twomey.

Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves
North Beach       5.6          13.9        17.10     20.20     140
North Frem         0.0          0.0         2.1           2.2          14
Goals – North Beach: Adler 4; Cooper, Evans 3; Christie, Irvine 2; Davis, Morrison, Tobin, Gray, Sullivan.
Best – North Beach: Irvine, Evans, Brown, Morrison, Davis, Cooper, Adler.

Beyond Tools C4-Grade
Piara Waters 33.19 (217) def North Beach 0.0 (0)

GJ Osplumb C4-Reserves
Piara Waters 17.10 (112) def North Beach 2.3 (15)

Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts
North Beach       3.3          8.8          15.10     22.11     143
North Frem         0.2          0.3          0.3           0.3            3
Goals – North Beach: Mortimer 4; Hiotis, Samuels 3; Smith, Farrell 2; McLeod, Hodge, Llanwarne, Irwin, Quayle, Supanz.
Best – North Beach: Mortimer, Samuels, Irwin, Hiotis, McLeod, Hodge.

North Beach spells belief

Adam Swain receives plaudits from teammates after kicking the match-winner

Charles Riley Reserve, home of North Beach Football Club, sits in something of an education hub.

To the west is Our Lady of Grace Primary School and to the north is North Beach Primary. And on Saturday, adding to that scholarly theme, we had a visit from the University Football Club.

The first lesson of the day – and in the last period as well – was spelling. And word of the day was belief.

Forget the traditional, phonetic , Oxford dictionary version. On Saturday, it was spelt N-O-R-T-H B-E-A-C-H …. BELIEF.

It started with the opening bounce of the Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts and prevailed through to the final, pulsating seconds of the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade.

The colts have had some epic battles with University, won and lost some big finals against them. There have some many highs against them and some gut-wrenching lows. That’s the foundation upon which rivalries are built.

While the Beach controlled the game early, leading by a commanding 16 points at half-time, respect and experience told them that probably would not be enough.

Sure enough, the Scholars came again, but the Beach had the answers.

Through ruckman Craig Bothe they were getting first hands on the ball and the class of Lachlan Scurria, Jack McIntosh and Tai Kirkpatrick enabled the Beach to fend off their rivals on the way to a solid 11-point win – 7.7 (49) to 5.8 (38).

In addition Jackson Martino was strong off half-back, Egan Brooks committed to the contest and Kane Foley stood up at important stages. It was a classic victory and one that gives the Beach a good shot at qualifying for finals to defend their 2019 premiership.

The Lifenet A-Reserves have every reason to have a powerful course of belief flowing through their veins, having won the last three premierships and to date are unbeaten in the 2020 campaign.

At half-time on Saturday that situation was in serious peril, trailing by 13 points but significantly Uni had doubled their score – 4.2 to 2.1. It was going to take something special to reverse the trend.

Through midfielders Steve Mansfield and Connor Boylan, and wingman Tim Edwards they started to generate more opportunities, Oskar Tothill started to exert an influence in the air and Daniel Ryan continued to be a threat up forward.

But without doubt the standard bearer in defence was Ben Sweeny as bit by bit the Beach pegged back the deficit until, in a dramatic final 30 seconds, a tie-breaking behind was scored by Edwards as North Beach won 6.5 (41) to 6.4 (40).

If we thought that was enough drama for the day, the A-Grade boys found a way to trump it.

Like the A-Reserves, they struggled to get their game flowing. It came together in fits and starts, a few individuals finding a way to keep their team in the contest with acts of brilliance.

Down by five points at half time and needing goals with the breeze in the third term, valuable minutes had evaporated with little action on the scoreboard.

Adam Cockie got the ball rolling with a long-range bomb after a centre clearance and then James Garcia kicked a miracle goal from the pocket, falling onto his back. And then Sam Lamont finished the quarter with a polished set shot from about 35 metres.

A five-point lead at three-quarter time did not look enough and when trailing by nine points with about five minutes left to play, kicking against the breeze, it look almost insurmountable.

But Lamont shrugged off a tackle and brought the margin back to inside a goal with a close range conversion. The Beach won the clearance and Andrew McGuinness marked just inside 50. It would take a big kick from there, he gave it all he had but it was forced through on the goal line.

From the kick-in, Mitch Dwyer read the situation perfectly, sprinted to intercept the safe, short kick to the pocket which wasn’t so safe after all. Dwyer, who had kicked the first goal of the term through a clever snap, gathered the footy and squared it to the hot spot where he found Adam Swain.

The neat left-footer was 20 metres out, well aware of the magnitude of the moment, calmed himself and slotted the match winner.

There was still time for University to respond, but again the Beach won the ball out of the middle and it was locked in the forward for a succession of stoppages before the siren rang around the precinct to elated scenes.

The Beach remains on top of the ladder, guaranteed to play finals and with the opportunity to consolidate in the last two rounds.

Garcia was brilliant, Kyle Cranley excelled in the ruck, Lamont and Craig Hoskins were outstanding through the midfield, while Dan Leishman provided trademark run from the back half, Madoc Plane played with purpose in defence and Dwyer again personified the team’s grit.

O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach       3.0          4.2          7.4          10.5        65
University           2.1          5.3          6.5            9.8        62
Goals – North Beach: Lamont, Ekert, Swain 2; Cockie, Dwyer, Gill, Garcia.
Best – North Beach: Cranley, Lamont, Garcia, Leishman, Hoskins, Plane, Dwyer.

Lifenet A-Reserves
North Beach       1.1          2.1          4.2          6.5          41
University           2.2          4.2          5.4          6.4          40
Goals – North Beach: Ryan 2; Edwards, Johnson, Tothil, C O’Connell.
Best – North Beach: Sweeny, Tothill, Mansfield, Boylan, Edwards, Ryan.

Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
North Beach       2.3          4.4          6.6          7.7          49
University           0.1          1.6          3.8          5.8          38
Goals – North Beach: Kirkpatrick 2; Eaton, McIntosh, Tunnis, Bellouard.
Best – North Beach: McIntosh, Scurria, Bothe, Martino, Kirkpatrick, Brooks, Foley.


Another big day at Chaz

Ladder positions will be ignored when the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade plays University in what looms as a pivotal fixture at Charles Riley Reserve tomorrow.

While the Beach sits at the top of the table – on equal points with Fremantle CBC and Curtin University-Wesley – having lost just one game and the Scholars are eighth, it means nought going into this battle.

Over the last decade University has been the most successful team in the competition and they are just one win outside of the top four with three games remaining. With so much at stake – and so much talent at their disposal – the reigning premiers always command respect.

Having said that, North Beach has been as impressive as any team in the competition in this truncated season that has been reduced to nine qualifying games and a top four finals series.

It seems like we have only just got started and finals are on the horizon.

Obviously a top two finish becomes even more important under the traditional Page System (top four) that operated for so many years when the WAFL had eight teams competing.

Again coach Shane Paap will be anxious to set the tone early, with senior players expected to establish the example. That has been the case throughout the opening two-thirds of the season with Dan Leishman, Adam Cockie, Blake Piggott and James Garcia showing the way.

In addition young, emerging players like Joe Deegan and Liam Catalfamo are doing their bit while Kyle Cranley has been exceptional in the ruck and Ryan Ekert has provided a Focal point up forward.

Simon Tunbridge, Luke Symonds and Ned Halley have also been instrumental in holding the opposition to manageable scores.

On a day when the club will hold its inaugural Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, the current crop of players will be keen to impress.

The Lifenet A-Reserves can expect a strong challenge from University.

Sitting undefeated on top of the ladder as they chase a fourth consecutive premiership under Scott Holbrook, there are days when they know they can they can cruise and get the job done. Tomorrow will not be one of them.

University sits in third position having lost one game and with Curtin University and North Fremantle, who have also suffered a lone defeat, join North Beach in the top portion of the ladder, with a clear division to the rest.

The Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts face a crucial game as they look to secure a top four position. It is a compact competition with two games separating eighth and third.

Curtin and Collegians are both undefeated with a congested pack behind them.

The Hybrid Linings C5-Grade and the Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves face big challenges against North Fremantle at Gil Fraser Oval as the intensity lifts in the lead-up to finals.

Both clubs will be involved but it’s about jockeying for those top two spots in each grade, so it should make for some enthralling footy.

The Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts should get the job done against the Magpies while the Beyond Tools C4-Grade and the GJ Osplumb C4-Reserves face the long drive to Piara Waters.

The Grange Residential Integrated Rules team has the opportunity to play at Steel Blue Oval against Coolbinia. They will have good memories of the ground, the scene of their first ever win.

O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach v University Charles Riley Reserve, 2.45pm

Lifenet A-Reserves
North Beach v University, Charles Riley Reserve, 1.05pm

Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
North Beach v University, Charles Riley Reserve, 11.25am

Hybrid Linings C5-Grade
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Oval, 2.45pm

Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Oval, 1.05pm

Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Oval, 11.25am

Beyond Tools C4-Grade
Piara Waters v North Beach, Piara Waters Sporting Pavilion, 1.50pm

GJ Osplumb C4-Reserves
Piara Waters v North Beach, Piara Waters Sporting Pavilion, 12.15pm

Grange Residential I-Grade
Coolbinia v North Beach, Steel Blue Oval, 11.10am

KPIs were secondary

Project Ceilings A-Grade women’s captain Stephanie Ball was in good form.

Anyone who plays – or has played – sport would consider there to be just two key performance indicators.

The first is the scoreboard, the second is the ladder.

While both were at the forefront of the mind when the Project Ceilings A-Grade women tackled West Coast at Charles Riley Reserve last Saturday, they were secondary in the bigger picture.

It was possible, albeit highly unlikely, that North Beach could elevate into the top four in what was the last qualifying round of the season, by upsetting the third-placed Coasters. Everything had to go right.

North Beach needed to win and fourth placed University had to lose to ladder leader Curtin University-Wesley. That was possible, but the degree of difficulty was off the charts with a 60 percent differential between the Beach and the Scholars.

In reality it was more about how they played, than the result itself.

For the record, West Coast endured 6.8 (44) to 3.12 (30), but North Beach was brave and not without opportunity. They lost on the scoreboard and finished fifth on the ladder, but in terms of development they are improving.

And so is the competition. In the three years of women’s football at this level, the trajectory has been exponential to such an extent that the saying ‘if you’re not getting better, you’re going backwards’ could not be more apt.

Despite the loss, it was a strong finish to a mixed, yet positive season. The Beach girls made a pact to make the running and not allow West Coast to get away early.

It was a scrappy affair, as nerves dictated play, but halfway through the final quarter the Beach were only five points down. There were some lost opportunities, but the endeavour was unquestioned.

Ashleigh Pianto was outstanding through the midfield and deserved best afield billing, while captain Stephanie Ball showed true grit and demonstrated why she is admired by her teammates, while Emily Sainty dominated the ruck and the steady Tessa Anderson and Olivia Hongell delivered dedicated and skilful footy all day.

The back line was resolute and did all they could to hold back West Coast’s forward movement.

For the Peak Body Fitness C3-Grade women it was another tough day scrambling for numbers, but they were brave and had a crack, despite being low on numbers.

The Hybrid Linings C5-Grade found it similarly punishing against University at McGillivray Oval, but doubtless will work on ways to respond this week, while the Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves were also out-pointed by the Scholars.

While the day did not end as well as the Beach faithful had hoped, it made a bright start through the Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts.

They won 8.5 (54) to 6.4 (40), the star performer being Jacob Della-Santa

Project Ceilings A-Grade women
West Coast         1.1          3.3          5.5          6.8          44
North Beach       1.2          2.4          2.7          3.12        30
Goals – North Beach: Hutton, Lindsay, Turner.
Best – North Beach: Pianto, Ball, Sainty, Anderson, Hongell.

Peak Body Fitness C3-Grade women
West Coast         1.2          3.3          5.10        8.11        49
North Beach       0.0          0.0          0.0          0.0           0

Hybrid Linings C5-Grade
University           7.0          11.0        14.2        18.6        114
North Beach       0.0            3.0          5.1          6.2          38
Goals – North Beach: Zehnder Wickstein 2; Hall, M Rollo.

Coast to Coast Imports C5-Reserves
University 10.8 (68) def North Beach       6.3 (39)

Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts
North Beach       1.1          4.3          5.4          8.6          54
University           2.0          2.0          4.3          6.4          40
Goals – North Beach: Della-Santa 2; Saunders, Bateup, Butko, McLeod, Johnson, Dewar.
Best – North Beach: Della-Santa, Greaves, Emery, Naylor, Pollard.

Magical integrated moments

Ben Henson….in the moment

Perspective. And good old fashioned sportsmanship.

Many of the players in the Grange Residential Integrated Rules team aspire to be like those representing North Beach Football Club in all other competitions. They would like be able to run as fast, to be as skilful, to soar high into the air.

They revere their club mates and love being a part of it.

Little do they know that there is so much our club is learning from them; the fun of playing, the sheer joy of belonging to something. And compassion.

On Saturday there was another moment that brought a tear to the eye.

North Beach was playing High Wycombe and the team from up in the hills was a superior outfit. They were more experienced, more advanced and more talented. They had a comfortable lead from the outset.

Towards the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs led by more than six goals. It could have been greater, but for their sense of fair play.

Just before the three-quarter time siren, North Beach pushed the ball deep towards goal. A High Wycombe player marked it and played on.

He handballed it to Ben Henson, a North Beach player who did not have the athletic qualities to compete with him. It was a deliberate turnover in the goalsquare.

Henson shaped to kick the ball towards his team’s attacking arc, away from the goal mouth. But was convinced that he should turn and kick the goal. Umpteen Bulldogs players could have tackled him.

They didn’t. They waited as he sized up the opportunity, steadied and slotted it.

It created a moment that Henson – and his family – will always cherish. A beautiful act that represents so abundantly the spirit of this game and this competition. That compassion and understanding cannot be manufactured. It is inherent in the individuals playing the game and is the reason our club is so fortunate to have a team playing in it.

Doubtless there were many such examples in other games across the competition on Saturday. This was no one-off.

We had that heart-wrenching moment and a few minutes before that we had Chris Willers snapping a goal from deep in the pocket that would have been admired at any level. Teammates celebrated wildly. The joy was unbridled.

They talk about diversity in this game. The integrated competition lives and breathes it.

Males and females, teenagers and mature adults, people from backgrounds of all descriptions and abilities. There is no discrimination here. It is, as the competition suggests, integration. It is pure. It is inspiring.

And that moment on Saturday was just another lesson for the rest of us.

To the High Wycombe player, his teammates and his club. Thank you. Not only did it make Ben’s day, it made our ours.

Little things bring big win

Kyle Cranley was an important factor in the ruck

From little things big things big things grow. And owning those small moments added up to an important victory for the O’Rourke Realty North Beach A-Grade against Scarborough yesterday.

There was a handful of those instances which were significant in 21-point victory in the ‘Battle of the Beaches’ at Charles Riley Reserve.

Like key forward Ryan Ekert kicking two thumping goals against the breeze – one each in the first and third terms; like Sam Lamont corralling Scarborough speedster Adam Vallelonga in the second term. He didn’t buy what Vallelonga was selling as he tried to ‘step’ the Beach star, but Lamont smothered the ball on the wing and stopped a forward surge.

Then, in the last quarter, another one percenter on the wing in front of the interchange bench was critical.

Again the Sea Eagles were surging forward, but Matt Holden committed to thwart the charge. He smothered the kick from Matthew Haddon, kept the ball alive, fed it forward and the passage ended with Michael Schofield taking a mark in the goal square and converting a clutch goal.

Scarborough had edged within three points, that took it to nine, and the Beach had some breathing space.

Finally, to put the game beyond any doubt, Andrew McGuinness gathered the ball on his boot laces and in one motion screwed around the corner on his right boot. That took the margin beyond three goals and the Beach was home.

Those moments added up to important victory that propelled the Beach to the top of the table and was the result on a concerted four-quarter effort.

While they trailed at quarter-time by 13 points, they had done well to minimise the damage, hit the front in the second quarter when they had the use of the breeze and were never again headed.

As always in the modern game, it started in the midfield where ruckman Kyle Cranley and ground level players like Craig Hoskins, Adam Cockie, Mitch Gill, James Garcia and Blake Piggott got the ball rolling.

Additionally, Dan Leishman, Luke Symonds and Simon Tunbridge were effective in defence, often launching offence with smooth transition backward of centre.

While the A-Grade held sway from the middle of the second term, the Lifenet A-Reserves were never in any serious danger of seeing the only blemish on their score sheet for the year.

They controlled the situation from the outset, kicked with the breeze in the opening term and never surrendered the advantage at any stage of the game, as they advanced to six consecutive victories.

The A-Reserves owned all of the key moments, but there was one special piece of play in the second quarter when Dan Ryan marked and goaled in his first game back off a knee reconstruction.

The Plasterwise Phil Scott colts also produced a commanding performance to win by 63 points – 11.12 (78) to 2.3 (15).

They had winners all over the ground with Lachlan Thomas and Sam Cooper dominant in defence, ruckman Craig Bothe giving his team first use and the likes of Justin Prior and Egan Brooks all playing with class.

Up forward Caden Eaton was imposing, Tai Kilpatrick continues to evolve as a goal-kicking midfielder and wingman Hayden Tunnis was influential.

O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach       1.1          4.3          6.7          9.8          62
Scarborough      3.2          3.3          5.5          6.5          41
Goals – North Beach: Ekert 2; Hoskins, Schofield, Witheridge, Garcia, Dwyer, Leishman, McGuinness.
Best – North Beach: Garcia, Piggott, Cockie, Leishman, Symonds, Cranley, Lamont.

Lifenet A-Reserves
North Beach       2.4          4.6          6.9          7.10        52
Scarborough      0.0          2.1          2.1          3.3         21
Goals – North Beach: Tothill 2; Black, Edwards, Foley, Ryan, Wells.
Best – North Beach: Chapman, Sweeny, Edwards, Tothill, Murray, Boylan, Bennett.

Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
North Beach       4.4          5.6          8.11        11.12     78
Scarborough      0.1          1.2          1.2           2.3        15
Goals – North Beach: Scurria, Eaton, Kilpatrick, Brooks 2; Bellouard, Coleman, Spencer.
Best – North Beach: Thomas, Bothe, Prior, Brooks, Cooper, Kilpatrick, Tounnis.

Reid to make AFL debut


Two years ago, on this corresponding weekend, Nic Reid was preparing to play his 100th game for North Beach against Curtin University-Wesley.

He reached the milestone at North Beach in front of the faithful at Charles Riley Reserve and celebrated the occasion with a five-goal bag.

There was no thought at that moment that there was much more in his football journey than finals footy at the local club where he was revered figure.

Now he is getting ready for biggest stage and will make his AFL debut against Hawthorn on Sunday at Optus Stadium, in front of somewhere between 25-30,000 people.

In 2018, with former Subiaco utility player Shane Paap at the helm, Reid underlined his talent by kicking 48 goals in an injury-affected season. He was runner-up to Joel Ashman in the WA Amateur Football League A-Grade competition and was also runner-up in the North Beach award (tied with Dan Leishman) to Sam Lamont.

Reid had become a local hero. Kids were going to Charles Riley Reserve to watch him play, wearing his No.19 on their backs. Among that throng of youngsters was Callum Jamieson, another product of the North Beach Junior Football Club, who is now on the Eagles list.

It was post that 2018 season that Reid found himself back on the path to elite football.

The West Coast Eagles had been granted a licence to play in the WAFL, allowing all of its players not selected in the AFL team to play together in the second tier competition. The alignment with East Perth had disintegrated and the Eagles wanted to go alone.

They were granted a licence and joined the competition, albeit handcuffed by severe recruiting restrictions.

It meant they needed to get creative with the list structure for their WAFL Eagles and all of Reid, Lamont and Ashman were so-called “top-up” players plucked out of the Amateur league. Pigeon holing them as supplementary player hardly did them justice, but it gave all of them an opportunity to play at the next level.

The embers of desire had again been fanned within the man they call Dos. Hope that had been almost extinguished rose again. Reid probably didn’t know how much he wanted it until he began mixing with AFL talent, recognising he was not entirely out of place.

For Reid, it was a platform to show a captive audience what he could do. He impressed General Manager – football Craig Vozzo, Eagles coach Adam Simpson and other staff who were dedicated to the WAFL team.

After a 2019 campaign when he demonstrated a capacity to influence WAFL games, the Eagles were given permission for him to train over the summer. Although his appearances on the track were limited because of shoulder surgery, he put everything on the line, even taking a year’s leave of absence from teaching to give it all of his attention.

Where he was not ready for the structured life of a WAFL player – let alone AFL football – in his late teens, the more mature version of Reid has craved it in his early 20s.

He is yet another example of a young man who would never have received this opportunity with a compressed senior list. Now he is ready to capitalise on his footy life line and take another quantum leap forward on his football – and life – experiences.

Reid’s journey to the AFL has been the antithesis of the smooth ride from the TAC Cup or WAFL colts to elite football.

No luxury vehicle or sealed highway on his path to the top.

He started on that manicured route, missed a couple of turns, found himself in a beat-up four wheel drive in the middle of nowhere but has eventually made it to the desired destination.

He could have been excused for being disillusioned by those frustrating, unplanned detours. Abandoning his AFL dream was more logical than clinging to thinning hope.

Especially when it drifted from arms-length as a member of WA under-age squads to a barely visible image far on the dusty horizon of the gravel tracks he was navigating in early adulthood.

But on Sunday, when he fulfils his long-held AFL ambition, making his debut for the West Coast Eagles against Hawthorn, it will all seem worthwhile. The brown pebbles pounding the undercarriage on his drive to the top had kept him alert, rather than drifting completely off target.

And he will become a unique and compelling football story when, at age 24, he steps out as the 252nd player to represent the West Coast Eagles in its 34-year history.

Reid has always had talent, but he never quite fitted the neat template that the AFL industry expects of its aspiring youngsters. He wasn’t besotted with the game, had a couple of cracks with WAFL club Claremont, but in his late teens he wasn’t quite ready for that structured and routine way of life.

He preferred to play with his mates at amateur club North Beach.

He liked the freedom of just playing footy. The game came naturally to him and he mirrored it in the way he played. Instinctively.

It is possible for me to offer some insights into this young man because I was coaching the colts at North Beach when he opted out of the Claremont program. I wouldn’t say I, or Dave Barwick, with whom I shared the role, coached him as much as plonked him in the centre and asked the umpires to start the game.

He dominated, often kicked three or four goals out of the middle, and we just enjoyed the spectacle. We weren’t the only ones. A-Grade players would come to the ground early to watch him play.

That was 2012 and Reid was clearly a class above all others at that level. The senior coach at North Beach, Bill Duckworth recognised it too, and Reid’s stint in the colts was short-lived.

Duckworth, a two-time Essendon premiership player and 1984 Norm Smith medallist, injected him into the seniors and played a nurturing role with the talented youngster.

A year later, another AFL premiership star, David Hynes, a significant part of the 1994 West Coast Eagles premiership team, assumed the senior position at North Beach and he continued to mould an evolving young man who was among the most talented, if not the  most talented, players in the competition.

The North Beach army will doubtless have a strong representation at Optus Oval. Those who can’t get there will be glued to their television sets.

All will feel a sense of pride when ‘Dos’ struts his stuff. He’s one of ours and we love him.