By Gary Stocks
The O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team rallied to the calls of senior coach David Hynes to lift the intensity and produced possibly the performance of the season in a nail biter against University.
Quoting from legendary Hawthorn coach John Kennedy, insisting that at times in seasons, in big games, there was a need to step up for the challenge or step aside. On Saturday the Beach, collectively, stepped forward at McGillivray Oval.
University has won the past two premierships and remain a competition benchmark, but the Beach rose to the challenge and in a hotly-contested match eventually endured by two points – 10.7 (67) to 9.11 (65).
The Beach has gone a long way towards locking down third place on the ladder courtesy of that hard fought win and will take some confidence into the rapidly approaching finals series. With two qualifying matches remaining it holds a one game and significant percentage advantage over fourth-placed Trinity Aquinas.
The Beach started strongly against University and should probably have enjoyed a bigger advantage than the 17-point lead it enjoyed at the first break, having kicked 4.5 to 2.0.
Thereafter, it was a tight, gripping contest, with University gradually pegging back the margin. The Beach lost a couple of players to injury, which hurt the midfield rotation, but after a tense final few minutes managed to hang on.
Kyle Holden was again outstanding at centre half-back, Rob McComiskie and Kyle Riemann won the hard ball and Mark Foreman and Keegan Knott kicked seven goals between them to be ever dangerous up forward.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves, the best performed team at the club all season, maintained their reputation with an outstanding win under finals-like intensity against the Students.
So many of the young players under Michael Pratt would have benefitted greatly from the pressure-cooker environment and would take great confidence away from a 35-point victory – 10.8 (68) to 5.3 (33).
Kade Golisano, who has had a terrific season, was one youngster who excelled, along with Michael Schofield. They followed the example set by some senior players who relish the contest, with Jacob Griffiths continuing his excellent form, along with Andy Langsford, Sam Green, Andrew Nunan and Liam Vardy.
The Nuchange Phil Scott Colts put up a bold performance against one of the best teams in the competition before slipping to a 24-point loss.
In the first half, the Beach’s pressure acts forced University into error, setting up a five-point lead at the main break.
Intensity dropped away minimally in the third term, University got first hands to the footy and built a 16-point lead. Tough conditions, with a swirling breeze sweeping across the ground, which is exposed to the elements, made scoring tough in the final term and University won 6.21 (57) to 5.3 (33).
Unfortunately, the Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade, found Whitford too tough to crack and lost by 36 points, but the Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves solidified a top four place with an 80-point win.
With key forward targets Novak Smith and Michael Bramley kicking 11 goals between them, the Beach had players capable of capitalising on the midfield control it enjoyed.
Tim van Der Kraats added to Whitford’s defensive issues by controlling centre half-forward and kicking three goals to hit scoreboard as well. Ben Ammon was outstanding off half-back while Luke Ferreri and Khalil Campbell also dominated.
The Express Bins E2-Grade won on forfeit and is also in finals contention, with the lower grades winding up their qualifying round season this week.
The Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts, who have endured a tough finish to the season, were well beaten by Whitford.
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach 10.7 (67) def University 9.11 (65)
Goals – North Beach: Foreman 4; Knott 3; Harwood, Italiano, Wilson 1.
Best – North Beach: Holden, McComiskie, Foreman, Riemann, Knott, Boys.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach 2.3 2.5 5.8 10.8 68
University 2.0 3.2 5.3 5.3 33
Goals – North Beach: Potts, Griffiths 2; Green, Lee, Bowdell, Melvin, Nunan, Cownie 1.
Best – North Beach: A Langsford, Golisano, Green, Griffiths, Vardy, Hack, Schofield, Nunan.
Nuchange Phil Scott Colts
University 1.6 2.9 5.18 6.21 57
North Beach 1.1 4.2 5.2 5.3 33
Goals – North Beach: Cameron, Lynch 2; Clark 1.
Best – Irvine, Hoskins , Lynch , Rudrum , O’Donnell.
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
Whitford 11.5 (71) def North Beach 5.5 (35)
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
North Beach 3.4 9.6 12.8 16.10 106
Whitford 1.0 2.1 2.4 3.8 26
Goals – North Beach: Bramley 6; Smith 5; van Der kraats 3; Mirabile, Styles 1.
Best – North Beach: Ammon, Smith, Bramley, van der Kraats, Ferreri, Campbell.
Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts
Whitford 20.9 (129) def North Beach 6.8 (44)
Express Bin E2-Grade
North Beach 15.0 (90) def Stirling 0.1 (1)
#Full details of all matches will be published as they become available