Plans for North Beach legend Matt Fong to celebrate his 250th game for the Tigers in the appropriate fashion were upended by a determined Stirling at Richard Guelfi Reserve last Saturday.
Fong, who has the mind-blowing record of playing in eight senior premierships (which he shares with the king of The Beach, Chris Perkin) reached his milestone at the weekend and everything appeared to be going according to plan.
Until Stirling, which is building a handy record against the Tigers, stormed home with five goals to one in the final term, to score an impressive 12-point victory.
Mitch Holbrook was outstanding with nine goals for North Beach while Chris Pearce, Beau Witheridge, Ben Heap and Rhys Cunningham were also in good form.
Coach Bill Duckworth was naturally disappointed with the last quarter fade-out and lamented skill errors which created opportunities for Stirling. Opportunities they seized upon.
The loss by the Beach was just one upset in a bizarre round of fixtures which saw the bottom five teams going into the weekend, unseating the top five teams and reinvigorating the fight for the bottom three positions in the five.
Five teams – Trinity Aquinas, University, Stirling, Fremantle CBC and West Coast Cowan – are all sitting on four wins.
Details – A-Grade
Stirling 2.2 6.4 8.7 13.9 87
North Beach 5.3 8.5 10.6 11.9 75
GOALS – North Beach: M Holbrook 9; Paap 2.
BEST – M Holbrook, C Pearce, Witheridge, Heap, Cunningham.
The A-reserves kicked two games clear into second position on the ladder with an emphatic 94-point victory over Stirling.
After a competitive first quarter the Tigers seized the initiative, controlled every facet of the game and maintained their outstanding form – ensuring they go into this week’s clash with arch rivals North Fremantle with a high level of confidence.
Andrew Langsford, Marc Welsh, Scott Hogg and Ryan Bebich all excelled while Alex Hack enjoyed his first hit out for the club this season and ensured the Beach had first use of the football.
Details – A-Reserve
North Beach 4.1 8.5 13.9 18.10 118
Stirling 3.0 3.0 4.0 4.0 24
GOALS – North Beach: Harwood 3; Welsh, Gooch, Brooks 2; Hack, Langsford, Duckworth, Bebich, Weston, Dobson, Potts, Giles 1.
The E-grade continued a strong vein of form with a convincing 40-point win against Trinity Aquinas at Bill Grayden Reserve.
After a keenly-contested first half, the Tigers assumed control in almost every position, kicking seven goals to three and helping the team move two games clear in second place, two games behind the unbeaten North Fremantle.
Ben O’Donnell and Hayden French were reliable avenues to goal, kicking seven goals between them, while Daniel Wheeler, Chris Seeds and Sean Lucassen ensured a steady stream of supply.
Other key players in an important triumph away from home were Ryan Gould, Nick Morling and Ben Foley.
Details – E-Grade
North Beach 1.1 6.4 7.9 13.14 92
Trinity Aquinas 1.4 4.5 5.9 7.10 52
GOALS – North Beach: O’Donnell 4; French 3; Allan, Curry, Gould, Morling, Wheeler, Normoyle 1.
BEST – North Beach: Wheeler, Seeds, Lucassen, Gould, Morling, Foley.
Wasted opportunities against an accomplished opponent were cause for great angst in the E-Reserves, with North Beach kicking just three goals from 20 scoring shots.
The goal-front inaccuracy, particularly to three-quarter time, allowed TAs to take scoreboard control and they made the Beach pay. There will be much work done to ensure greater efficiency in coming weeks with attention to detail on the track.
Scott Rausch, Chris McComiskie, Kim O’Mara and a handful of others worked hard, but the finish was not quite there.
Details – E-Reserves
Trinity Aquinas 3.0 7.6 9.10 15.12 102
North Beach 1.5 2.7 2.14 3.17 35
GOALS – North Beach: Hoyland 2; Habel 1.
BEST – North Beach: Rausch, McComiskie, O’Mara.
The G-Grade are on a roll and ensured that at the mid-way point of the season all of the North Beach teams are in the top five, working their way into 5th position after a dominant performance against Quinns on Saturday.
After a blistering first quarter the G-bangers maintained that standard throughout on the way to a brilliant 126-point triumph.
Naturally, in such a dominant display, there were many outstanding players, with Dave Sinagra continuing his good form to be best afield with Tony Mirabile and Ben Skyring also in eye-catching touch.
Details – G-Grade
North Beach 5.3 10.10 18.15 24.18 144
Quinns 1.0 2.0 2.0 3.0 18
GOALS – North Beach: Gregorie 6; Reynolds 4; Smith, Le, Misikos 3;Turner, Elliott 2; Brewer 1.
BEST – North Beach: Sinagra, Mirabile, Skyring.
After Stirling applied good first-quarter pressure, North Beach absorbed their best shot in the Phil Scott division and then took control.
In that first term, Stirling had good numbers at the ball, and the Tigers looked a little panicked. But from that point forward the Beach worked harder in the second quarter and kicked away, using the ball well and hitting targets.
Full-forward Sam Keely enjoyed that outstanding delivery and finished off the work with seven goals.
Having set the tone in the second term, the challenge was to sustain the effort and that was achieved.
Trevor Lang was terrific off a half-back flank, Alex Billi dominated on a wing, Mitch Dwyer was in good touch through the middle and James Batty produced a typically hard-working display.
Details – Phil Scott Div
North Beach 2.1 6.6 10.7 13.9 87
Stirling 1.3 3.6 4.5 4.6 30
GOALS – North Beach: Keely 7; Whitbread 2; Stott, McComiskie, Dwyer, Couper 1.
BEST – North Beach: Lang, Billi, Dwyer, Batty, Shadbolt, Irvine, Whitbread.
The Brett Jones team had a challenging assignment against second placed Trinity Aquinas at Bill Grayden Reserve and emerged with a thrilling three-point victory.
After controlling play, but failing to put the opposition away, the door was left ajar and TAs burst through. A couple of late goals in the second quarter kept them in the contest and then they continued to chip away at the lead in the third.
It was a case of “game on” in the last quarter and North Beach responded to the challenge, a freakish late goal from Matt Ioppolo proving to be a match winner.
Other important contributions came from Michael Italiano in his first game for the club, Caleb Russell, Chris Douglas, Hayden Coutts and Adam Clark while Peter Hopkins produced an encouraging effort in his first game of Australian football.
Sadly, Luke Speering suffered a broken leg after working his way into some outstanding form.
Details – Brett Jones Div
North Beach 11.5 (71) def Trinity Aquinas 10.8 (68)
GOALS – North Beach: Italiano, Ioppolo 3; Dye 2; Dennis, Speering, Coutts, Bates 1.
BEST – North Beach: Italiano, Russell, Douglas, Coutts, A Clark, Hopkins.