By Gary Stocks
In big games there are usually big moments. Times in the match which turn it one way or the other.
One such moment came in the third quarter of the WAAFL A-Reserves grand final which catapulted the Credent Financial Services North Beach outfit to an outstanding win. The ultimate – A premiership!
It was the middle of the third term, the Beach was kicking towards the Vincent Street end of the ground and Trinity Aquinas were looking to work their way out of their defensive 50. The ball was heading towards two TA players when Jacob Griffiths dug deep within.
He willed himself to make a contest, dived full length and fisted the ball over the boundary line just when his opponent considered it was poised to fall into his clutches.
That one, desperate act did not win the game for the Beach, but it was indicative of the commitment to the contest. The energetic co-captain prevented TAs from clearing the ball out of the danger zone, but more importantly, the incident occurred in front of the North Beach faithful, in the East Perth section of the Medibank Stadium stand, and it lifted them to full voice.
From the ensuing boundary throw-in, the Beach scored a valuable goal. On a day when goals were like gold, it was a pivotal moment, created breathing space on the scoreboard and the Beach went on to win by 19 points – 6.13 (49) 4.6 (30).
On a day where a flukey, blustery breeze blew to one end, skill execution was tough and the Beach struggled to get full return on domination. They controlled general play for most of the match and should have won by more. Not the margin means much when 22 committed young men have premiership medallions hanging around their necks!
And each one of the Beach players contributed to the victory.
None more so than Griffiths’ close mate Matt Irvine, who was superb on a wing. His kicking skills held up on a day when most others had great difficulty and it was fitting that he should kick the sealer in the last couple of minutes – a bomb from 50 metres….into the breeze.
Midfielder Tim Bowdell, who won the medal as best afield, ruckmen Kyle Cranley and Alex Hack, experienced midfielders Matt Power, Michael Taylor and Andrew Nunan were also influential while Mark Foreman always looked dangerous up forward.
In defence, James Foley performed an important role on experienced Trinity Aquinas forward Luke Howard, effectively shutting him out of the contest.
Kris Hackett, Ben Sweeny and Ben Heap were also important at times through the game,
But it was the consummate team performance and important from a club perspective, with so many members of that team graduating through the colts in the last five or six years.
Coach Michael Pratt would have been delighted with the whole-of-team performance.
North Beach 6.13 (39) def Trinity-Aquinas 4.6 (30)
Goals – North Beach: Foreman 3; Irvine 2.
Best – North Beach: Irvine, Bowdell, Cranley, Foley, Nunan, Foreman, Hack.