By Gary Stocks
The disappointment of wasted opportunities was tempered by the elevation of some younger players at the club as the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade fell by three points to University last Saturday.
The scoreboard tells the important part of the story as the Beach lost 4.12 (36) to 6.3 (39), a clear indication that the efficiency forward of centre was short of expectations.
The sub-plot, however, was that the club plumbed the depths of talent and there was much to like about it. Young utility player Chris Wells, after a best-on-ground performance in the reserves in round one, was rewarded with promotion and shone off half-back with some exquisite ball use and timely intercept marks.
His older brother Nic received a late call-up when Craig Hoskins was ruled out on game day as a COVID close contact, and he also capitalised on the opportunity.
In addition to that midfield recruit Brayden Lawler again showed his class, racking up close to 40 possessions and clamping on 10 tackles as he led from the front.
James Garcia was ubiquitous inside the attacking arc and kicked three of the team’s four goals, again demonstrating his appetite for the contest while acting captain Tom Hooper led the defensive effort with aplomb, winning virtually all of his one-on-one contests.
Unfortunately, Sam Lamont suffered a knee injury which will sideline him for a couple of months, joining skipper Mitch Gill on the sidelines for an extended stint.
The Lifenet A-Reserves maintained their winning form with a commanding 41-point victory over the Scholars.
While Tim ‘Tap’ McLaurin made his coaching debut (with support from Gill and other members of the coaching cohort), the Beach pieced together a systemic dissection of the opposition, resulting in a 11.11 (77) to 5.6 (36) victory.
Big forward George McColgan dominated and kicked four goals in conjunction with Nathan Adler who provided another reliable avenue to goal.
Tough young midfielders David Purser and Alex Thompson were outstanding in and around the contests while Hamish Coulton excelled at half-back and Peter Hiotis was another worthy contributor through the engine room.
The Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts found themselves on the back foot early against University, edged their way back into the contest with grim determination, before the opposition kicked away in the last quarter to win by eight points.
The Beach were aided by remarkable accuracy in front of goal before losing 9.1 (55) to 9.9 (63).
Minor skill errors and decision making under pressure proved costly, but again the Beach can take plenty of positives away against a perennial benchmark in the colts competition.
Cooper Blackburn, Justin Prior and Kobi Martin set solid benchmarks for the level of competitiveness required to match it with University and their teammates followed, albeit without claiming the result.
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
University 2.0 5.0 6.3 6.3 39
North Beach 1.1 1.4 3.7 4.12 36
Goals – North Beach: Garcia 3; Cranley.
Best – North Beach: Lawler, Garcia, C Wells, Hooper, N Wells.
North Beach 3.0 5.7 8.9 11.11 77
University 1.1 1.2 3.4 5.6 36
Goals – North Beach: Adler, McColgan 4; C O’Connell, Wickstein, A Coleman.
Best – North Beach: McColgan, Thompson, Purser, Coulton, Hiotis, Adler.
Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
University 3.3 4.4 6.6 9.9 63
North Beach 1.0 4.1 7.1 9.1 55
Goals – North Beach: Caccamo, O’Shea, Rose 2; Thompson, Prior, Blackburn.
Best – North Beach: Blackburn, Martin, Prior, Connell, Caccamo.
Women Start With A Bang
The North Beach female squad started the season with a winning double, producing two memorable performances against Rossmoyne.
The Synkro A-Grade scored a stirring two-point victory while the C4-Grade demonstrated the depth in the women’s program with a dominant performance.
Led by Shannon Matthews, who kicked three goals, the A-Grade team won 4.12 (36) to 5.2 (32) and as the scoreboard would indicate, had the Beach made the most of their opportunities they would have been comfortable victors.
Matthews, Rachelle Jones, captain Clare Dickson and Tessa Anderson were all driving forces in the victory.
The C4-Grade were always in control where Anna Laycock was dominant as an inside mid continually winning clearances and getting the ball forward, as the Beach racked up a 5.12 (42) to 0.1 (1) victory.
Hannah Campbell showed the intent of the group, providing a solid block (which has been a big focus for the squad) and genuine smarts up forward.
After getting on the board early, the Beach rolled with the momentum, the magnets were flicked around and there was much to like about the performance.
While Laycock was best on ground, other eye-catching performances came from Jordyn Lilford, Moana Roberts, Natasha Phillips, Kellie Holden and Cara Catterall.
A number of players indicated they could comfortably take the step into A-Grade, which holds the squad in good stead.
Synkro A-Grade Women
North Beach 4.12 (36) def Rossmoyne 5.2 (32)
Goals – North Beach: Matthews 3; R Jones.
Best – North Beach: N/A
North Beach 1.3 2.6 3.8 5.12 42
Rossmoyne 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 1
Goals – North Beach: Campbell 2; Monaghan, Thomas, Plummer.
Best – North Beach: Laycock, Lilford, Roberts, Phillips, Campbell, Catterall.
Mixed Results in COVID-Hit Grades
COVID top-up players are not just a thing in the AFL; North Beach has been hard hit by the virus, particularly impacting the lower grades.
About 40 players have been sidelined by it in recent weeks meaning a scramble to get numbers for the teams down the chain, but they have shown remarkable resilience to win their share of matches in the opening two rounds.
The Hybrid Linings C4-Grade, despite making 14 changes from round one and containing just four players from last year’s premiership team managed an outstanding 12-point victory.
Led by Mitch Cameron, who kicked a stunning eight goals, the Beach beat University at UWA Sports Park 9.11 (65) to 8.5 (53).
Things looked ominous early when the Beach slipped to a four-goal deficit, but the character and spirit shone through, kicking nine goals to four after quarter-time.
Aside from Cameron, who was superb and clearly best afield, skipper Matt Seaton was impassable at half back.
At the same time Marc Crisp was a driving force through the midfield; Connor Hingston played 90% of the game in the ruck and although was up against much taller opponents he competed brilliantly and showed a huge amount of ticker while Joel Temm was a precise rebounder of the footy and gave great drive from defence.
Josh Tickner also stood up at full back and really curtailed the big Uni forwards.
The Beast Carpet Cleaning C4-Reserves found 17 changes too disruptive, but still played with great heart before going down 8.4 (52) to 10.10 (70).
With a number of players elevated from the 5s, and a group of past players registering to help the club at a time of crisis – Matt Irvine, Luke Morabito, Dion Cownie and Luke Spies among them – the Beach managed a meritorious performance.
They had a red-hot crack but came up against a University outfit that will again be strong this year and they the majority of their squad to pick from.
Straight kicking kept the Beach in the game throughout the first three quarters, with Mason Rollo kicking a pearler from the boundary after the half time siren. Down to 20 fit men by the start of the third quarter, it started to show as the energy petered.
The Beach made it an ambition to win the last term and they fought hard to take the game to Uni, controlling the tempo of the game and ticking that aspirational box.
North Beach had solid contributions in each line with Max Conroy having a magnificent game at centre half-back, Rhys Irvine kicking four goals at centre-half-forward and Jack Stevens providing the grunt required in the middle of the ground.
The Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts found University too slick, failing to kick a goal in the second half as the Scholars converted a 16-point advantage at the main break into a commanding 11.12 (78) to 3.7 (25) victory.
Beaten in virtually every position on the ground there were a few players who stood up to the intensity of the opposition, including Daniel Keay, who provided a fantastic individual defensive performance at full-back.
Harry Corderoy once again showing his class in the midfield alongside Conor Ougan. The forwards toiled hard all day but could not reap any reward.
The Beyond Tools E1-Grade also called on some club stalwarts to assist in the crisis with Ryan McGinnity, Greg Pires and Matt O’Donnell responding to the desperate situation.
The Beach tried hard, produced an outstanding opening term to trail Rossmoyne by just two goals at the first change.
Bearing in mind it was Rossmoyne’s senior team against the North Beach fifth grade, that was more than a commendable start, but it was downhill after that.
Sean Foley also helped out and was probably best afield for the home side, while O’Donnell played strongly in the midfield and Jamie Cosgrove played well in defence.
Sam Hutchison, in his first year of footy tried his heart out, as did Ryan Wade and Mark Sadler.
The GJ Osplumb E4-Grade did a remarkable job to score a 21-point win over Rossmoyne.
Hybrid Linings C4-Grade
North Beach 1.1 4.6 8.10 9.11 65
University 4.2 5.4 6.4 8.5 53
Goals – North Beach: M Cameron 8; Baroni 1.
Best – North Beach: M Cameron, Crisp, Seaton, Hingston, Temm, Tickner.
Beast Carpet Cleaning C4-Reserves
University 2.4 6.6 8.8 10.10 70
North Beach 2.0 5.0 5.0 8.4 52
Goals – North Beach: R Irvine 4; Cownie, M Rollo, Cooper, Mortimer.
Best – North Beach: Conroy, Cooper, Budimir, Stevens, Spies, Rollo.
Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts
University 2.2 6.4 8.7 11.12 78
North Beach 1.5 3.6 3.7 3.7 25
Goals – North Beach: J Smith, Jolley, Payne.
Best – North Beach: Keay, Ougan, Cordery
Beyond Tools E1-Grade
Rossmoyne 3.4 6.8 13.9 18.10 118
North Beach 2.1 2.6 2.6 3.8 26
Goals – North Beach: –
Best – North Beach: S Foley, O’Donnell, Cosgrove, Hutchison, Wade, Sadler.
GJ Osplumb E2-Grade
North Beach 4.4 5.4 7.7 7.9 51
Mosman Park 0.1 1.3 2.4 4.6 30
Goals – North Beach: Ingleby 4; B Collins, Clarke, Panagopoulos.
Best – North: Ingleby, Clinch, Manea, B Collins, Clapham.