By Gary Stocks
The first movement out of the centre square was slick.
Quick hands from the centre bounce, players breaking into space, receiving the ball at speed and then finished off brilliantly by Kyle Riemann. It took all of 30 seconds and was an outstanding passage.
Shortly after the resultant centre bounce, it was more of the same – two goals to none and North Beach was off to a flying start. Playing a team, Fremantle CBC, certain of relegation to B-Grade for next season the game started as you might expect.
On a day when the marquee on the hill hosted the 2001 premiership players, the exhibition in the middle was fitting. Some of the senior players, who were part of that triumph 10 years ago, enjoyed the opportunity to remind old teammates of their ample skill.
Bean Heap has lost none of the dash that marked his performance on a wing, Simon Pearce can still jump, Luke Smith remains cool across half-back – directing the ball into the right positions for the Beach to launch assaults.
As good as they were, and as good as the opening few minutes were, however, it was not as sublime as that throughout. Indeed, with an opposition determined to create some resistance and prevailing nor-easter howling across the ground it was far from inspiring for much of the contest.
Still, all you can do is win, and in the end the Beach scored a comfortable 40-point win, which could have been much better had forwards not been so wasteful.
The performance of the day probably came from the A-Reserves, who produced a dominant performance to win by 66 points and made light of the tough conditions.
Veteran Chris Perkin put on a show for his mates in the marquee while Mitch Holbrook provided a strong target deep in attack, Scott Holbrook patrolled the back half with his usual aplomb and a host of young guns also wielded some influence.
Matt Power, Josh Stott, Matt Irvine and Reece Burns were lively throughout, ensuring that Tommy McNeill celebrated his 150th game in style.
The D1-Grade kept alive brief hopes of slipping into the finals (doused later when other results came to hand) with a sizzling second half that provided a 76-point triumph over Collegians.
Leading by just 10 points at half-time, the Beach turned it on to kick 12 goals to one after the break. Sam Keeley led the way with eight goals, while Sam Harrison, Dylan Niblett, Michael Collins and Brett Rice were also influential.
The D1-Grade also had a good afternoon, albeit in a might tighter affair against Collegians.
They had to stave off a fast-finishing opponent to win by five points, a victory achieved through the efforts of Dave Hocking, Simon Wilson and Tom McComiskie.
The E2 boys scored an impressive 9.15 (69) to 5.1 (31) victory over High Wycombe.
The most disappointing performance of the day came from the Phil Scott Colts, who simply failed to compete against Fremantle CBC and were out-classed to the tune of 75 points.
CBC dominated almost from the outset, with the only resistance coming from full-back Glen Pullella, half-back Ben Sweeney, wingmen Shane Fullwood and Khalil Campbell and utility player Jamie Cosgrove.
The Phil Scott Colts will need to win both their remaining games to have any chance of playing finals, but with the right attitude can still achieve the target.
The Brett Jones colts had a bye last Saturday and will this week play their last qualifying game against Fremantle CBC.
North Beach 5.2 8.5 11.13 12.20 92
Fremantle CBC 0.4 4.5 5.7 6.10 52
Goals – North Beach: Potts 4; Jackson 2; Bandy, McGinnity, Heap, Dwyer, Riemann, Langsford 1.
Best – North Beach: Boys, Smith, Pearce, McGinnity, Riemann, Potts.
North Beach 4.0 9.3 11.6 14.12 96
Fremantle CBC 0.1 2.1 2.1 4.2 26
Goals – North Beach: Perkin, M Holbrook 3; R McComiskie, Stott 2; Scantlebury, Hall, Fishlock, Burns 1.
Best – North Beach: Power, Burns, Perkin, Stott, Irvine.
North Beach 2.2 4.7 8.9 16.10 106
Collegians 3.3 3.3 4.6 4.6 30
Goals – North Beach: Keeley 8; Mansfield, Collins 2; Harrison, Hay-Hendry, Niblett, Sharrinovski 1.
Best – North Beach: Hay-Hendry, Harrison, Keeley, Niblett, Collins, Rice.
North Beach 1.0 3.3 7.7 9.9 63
Collegians 2.1 3.2 4.3 9.4 58
Goals – North Beach: Smith, S Wilson 2; Bracia, T McComiskie, Shem, Missikos, L Ferreri 1.
Best – North Beach: Hocking, T McComiskie, Wilson.
Phil Scott Colts
Fremantle CBC 2.1 6.3 11.4 16.5 101
North Beach 1.1 1.2 3.2 4.2 26
Goals – North Beach: Golisano, Kickett, Waymouth, Foreman 1.
Best – North Beach: Pullella, Fullwood, Sweeney, Cosgrove, Campbell.