By Gary Stocks
Slows starts are becoming a concern for the O’Rourke Realty North Beach A-Grade team after being jumped by Fremantle CBC at Percy Doyle on Saturday.
After conceding a four-goal start to Kalamunda the previous week, the Beach found themselves down by a similar margin against CBC and that deficit ballooned out to 40 points by half-time.
Out-gunned around the stoppages and with a steady flow of forward 50 entries by CBC, the Beach could find no answers until coach David Hynes decided to start the third quarter with extra numbers behind the ball.
Kicking into the breeze, the Beach need to stem the bleeding and that had the desired effect, but too much was left to be done. The second half was far more productive, the attack on the contest improved and eventually the losing margin was reduced to just 22 points.
But it remained a disappointing effort and Hynes and his support crew will be looking for answers as the club strives to get the season back on track. Most players contributed to some extent, but not for long enough or with the degree of consistency required.
Exceptions to that generalisation were half-forward James Lee, wingman Alex Billi and defender Ben Sweeny.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves, conversely, started strongly and then wilted in the second half.
After leading by 17 points at half-time, the Beach could muster just two goals after the main break and lost 7.8 (50) to 11.3 (69).
Ned Melvin and Michael Italiano were strong and reliable focal points up forward, Kieran Yakas got first hands on the footy in the ruck contests, Chris Wynne and Matt Power worked hard at ground level and Scott Ward was solid in defence.
The Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts also faded, dropping off the pace in the final term after leading at the last change. CBC stormed home to win by 28 points after the Beach held a slender one-point advantage at the last change.
To that stage it was an engrossing encounter, but CBC dominated the last 20 minutes.
Joel Brown, Michael Hoskins and Connor McGuire worked hard throughout, but the Beach slipped to their first defeat of the season.
Down at Morris Buzzacot Reserve a similar story unfolded, with the Brett Jones Colts right in the game at half-time, before dropping away in the third quarter. The Beach fought back gallantly to win the last term, but the damage had been done.
The good news, however, came in the Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade and the Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves matches when the Beach endured in two outstanding contests.
In the D1-Reserves, North Beach started slowly and lacked the trademark defensive pressure across the ground to be down by three goals at quarter time.
But after some key structural changes, they played with greater intent and from that point forward it was a different game.
Defensively, the Beach were far more accountable through Deon Jacobs, while Matt Allen, Joel Gray and Jacob Copley lifted the work rate in the midfield and up forward Johnny Turner and Tyson Barry provided great targets and converted their opportunities.
Bryon Boys was again brilliant across centre half-forward and provided the pivotal link from backline to forward line. To win with only 20 fit players in the last quarter showed great character and fight and appropriately marked the 150th milestone of Brett Rice, who has been a great contributor to the club.
Coach Daniel Wheeler was also thankful to Byron Boys and Chris Langsford who coached up to quarter-time.
The D1-Grade backed up that victory with a thrilling four-point win in a game where the lead changed hands many times.,
The North Beach players adhered to the game plan of coach Bill Duckworth, the younger players continuing to flourish under his direction. Duckworth is encouraging his team to take risks, to switch play and back their skills and while this led to a few turnovers, the broader picture is the focus.
With the experienced Jamie Sajich leading the way, North Beach won 8.6 (54) to 7.8 (50), but significantly other good players were recent colts graduates Sam Callow and Mitch Christie, along with Shaun Lucassen.
The Express Bins E2-Grade hosted top-of-the-table CBC at Charles Riley Reserve and fell four points shy of victory in another absorbing contest.
The Beach had their moments – and their opportunities – but three 50 metre penalties in the second half proved costly. Just the same coach Kane Kuenen, while disappointed with the result, was satisfied with the effort and can see vast improvement in his team.
Mark Langsford, Chris Humphry, Brett Anthony and Tony Mirabile were all strong contributors for the Beach, while coach Kuenen also bagged three goals.
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Fremantle CBC 6.3 9.6 12.9 13.12 90
North Beach 2.0 3.2 6.3 10.8 68
Goals – North Beach: Jarvis, Harwood 3; Alone, McDonnell 2.
Best – North Beach: Lee, Billi, Sweeny, Davis, Jarvis, Alone.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
Fremantle CBC 2.1 3.1 8.1 11.3 69
North Beach 3.1 5.6 6.7 7.8 50
Goals – North Beach: N/A
Best – North Beach: Italiano, Melvin, Yakas, Ward, Wynne, Hackett, Webster.
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
CBC Fremantle 4.2 4.5 7.6 12.7 79
North Beach 3.0 6.0 8.1 8.3 51
Goals – North Beach: McGuire 2; Mitchell, Ekert, Ellis, Irvine, Turner, Csar 1.
Best – North Beach: Brown, Hoskins, Kennedy, McGuire.
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
North Beach 3.1 3.2 5.3 8.6 54
Fremantle CBC 2.1 5.6 5.7 7.8 50
Goals – North Beach: Tindale, Christie 3; Stott 2.
Best – North Beach: Sajich, Callow, Lucassen, Christie.
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
North Beach 2.0 5.3 7.5 11.7 73
Fremantle CBC 4.3 7.3 7.10 9.12 66
Goals – North Beach: Allan 2; Barry, Boys, Clapham, Copley, Duke, Piggott, Slatter, Turner, Wilkins 1.
Best – North Beach: Boys, Jacobs, Allan, Gray, Copley.
Brett Jones Colts
Fremantle CBC 1.2 5.7 13.5 13.9 87
North Beach 3.0 5.3 5.4 8.5 53
Goals – North Beach: James 2; Collins, Lynch, Mairata, O’Donoghue, Orr-Young, Plakakas 1.
Express Bins E2-Grade
Fremantle CBC 0.2 4.4 5.7 7.8 50
North Beach 1.0 4.0 7.2 7.4 46
Goals – North Beach: Kuenen 3; Grapiglia, Mirabile, Smith, Missikos 1.
Best – North Beach: M Langsford, Humphry, Anthony, Mirabile.