By Gary Stocks
Finals footy can be brutal, with the margin between glory and pain coming down to the bounce of the ball, a lucky goal, an unexpected free kick or even a dramatic mid-match weather change.
Last Saturday four North Beach teams walked that tightrope in cut-throat finals and all endured – two of them advancing to grand finals and the other two rewarded with a spot in the preliminary final.
This was a remarkable day for the club, by any measure.
At Charles Riley Reserve the Red Hill Brett Jones Colts and the Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade played for the right to advance to the big dance. Both won, in contrasting fashion.
And down at Morris Buzzacott Reserve, the Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts and the Credent Financial Services A-Reserves were fighting for survival, with the goal of moving through to the preliminary final. They achieved the objective though, again, it was in contrasting circumstances.
Of course, with the Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves progressing through to the Grand Final a week earlier, the club will again have five teams in action this weekend.
The A Colts faced a challenge against Wesley Curtin and answered it emphatically.
Over the last couple of years this squad has been consistently exposed to finals football and the September-hardened Beach team was uncompromising, holding Wesley Curtin goal-less to three-quarter time, on the way to a dominant 61-point victory.
Nathan Adler provided a reliable focal point in attack and kicked five goals, feasting voraciously on the opportunities generated by the busy midfield, led by Brad Waters, Adam Swain, Liam Pardini and Ben Harbers.
Tom Lowndes also chimed in with three goals while Liam Hooper was also ubiquitous.
The A-Reserves took a little while to get going against University, but advanced on the back of an irresistible second half charge, outscoring the opposition by five goals to one after the break, on the way to a solid 12-point win.
Joel Fishlock, Dion Cownie and Mitch Cameron were consistently dangerous up forward, while Luke Pardini, Peter Harvey, Earl Quinlan, Andrew Nunan and Trevor Lang were also key contributors.
The D-1 Grade dominated early in their game against University and had the luxury of kicking back and relaxing in the final quarter, on the way to a seven-goal victory which will give them additional confidence going into this week’s grand final against Trinity Aquinas.
The Beach set up the victory with a brilliant opening quarter, which saw them assume a four-goal advantage, despite kicking against the breeze.
Led by Ryan Hart, Ben Bubnich, Tyler Vick, Christian Angelev and Ben Heap, the Beach set the tone from the outset and never released their grip on the game. Up forward Shane Duckworth capitalised on the work of the midfield and kicked four goals.
The heart-stopper of the day came in the Brett Jones Colts, when the Beach produced a plucky victory after being under all sorts of pressure at three-quarter time.
Leading by three points at the last change – and kicking against the breeze – it seemed the Beach was in strife, with Fremantle CBC taking momentum into the last term, having booted a couple of goals into the wind.
But the Beach found a way. Jordan Mesiti won some important one-on-one contests in the last 20 minutes and with support coming from the likes of Daniel Baty, Liam Manov, Caelan O’Connell, Eoin Kavanagh, Jordan Brooks and Brady Pettersson they produced a backs-to-the-wall victory.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach 2.0 3.2 6.4 8.5 53
University 3.0 5.3 5.4 6.5 41
Goals – North Beach: Cownie, Cameron 2; Ekert, Griffiths, E Quinlan, Wilson.
Best – North Beach: Pardini, Fishlock, Harvey, E Quinlan, Nunan, Lang.
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
North Beach 4.5 5.6 9.8 11.9 75
Wesley Curtin 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.2 14
Goals – North Beach: Adler 5; Lowndes 3; Waters 2; Campbell.
Best – North Beach: Waters, Swain, Pardini, Adler, Hooper, Harbers.
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
North Beach 14.7 (93) def University 7.6 (48)
Goals – North Beach: S Duckworth 4; Ellis 3; Hart, Christie 2.
Best – North Beach: Hart, Bubnich, Vick, Angelev, Duckworth, Heap.
Red Hill Brett Jones Colts
North Beach 4.1 4.3 5.5 5.8 38
Fremantle CBC 0.0 3.3 5.2 5.6 36
Goals – North Beach: McCarthy, Manov 2; Mesiti.
Best – North Beach: Baty, Mesiti, McCarthy, Pettersson, O’Connell, Kavanagh, Manov, Brooks.