Threes Go Back-To-Back

BY GARY STOCKS

Twelve months ago the feel-good story at the footy club was a 27-year premiership drought being broken by the club’s third grade coach Glen Hinkley.

This week, after such a long drought, he tasted success for the second year in a row when the Hybrid Linings C4-Grade produced a convincing victory against Nollamara – winning 17.12 (114) to 10.7 (67).

This victory was achieved against a backdrop of a distasteful social media post which could have inflamed the encounter against a team that contains a large contingent of first nations people. Fortunately, that did not happen because there is also a respectful affiliation between players past and present at both clubs.

The game was still played with the intensity and physicality expected of a Grand Final before the Beach endured through superior fitness and consistency across four quarters.

Nollamara bounced out of the blocks and were strong, aggressive and fast, however, the game could have been all over at the first break if the Beach forwards had kicked straight after registering 4.6 for the quarter.

Riley Hinkley and Tom de Courtenay started brilliantly as a ruck combination and dominated the stoppages giving their midfielders first use of the footy as well as taking marks around the ground and collecting possessions at will.

Up forward, Josh Cameron in his 100th game, got the first goal with a classy snap and Tully Wickstein was putting on a clinic with pace, agility and kicked an amazing goal that got the team up and running.

After quarter time, the team started to get some real control and kicked five goals into the wind with noted Grand Final performer Jordan Brooks and big forward Ryan Ekert starting to dominate. Down back, Nic Baroni and Cam Emery were doing a terrific job in keeping the Nollamara forwards at bay and restricted them to just two goals with the wind.

As expected, Nolla came out firing in the third quarter and reduced the margin to just 21 points at the last break. However, the North Beach boys knew they just had to be composed and use their superior fitness and structure and the result would come.

This proved to be the case and using the width and wide open spaces of Kingsway, led superbly by Jamie Bennett through the middle and the hard-running Craig Hall on the wing, the Tigers kicked six goals in 11 minutes to put the game beyond doubt.

With 18 wins from 21 games throughout 2022 it hinted at North Beach being the dominant side in C4 and after 100 minutes of Grand Final intensity, it was confirmed in emphatic fashion.


Hybrid Linings C4-Grade
Grand Final

North Beach      4.6         9.7         11.9       17.12    114
Nollamara          3.1         5.5         8.7        10.7         67
Goals – North Beach: Brooks 5; Ekert 3; Wickstein, J Cameron 2; Hunter, Bennett, Rollo, Crisp, de Courtenay.
Best – North Beach: Brooks, Wickstein, Bennett, Hall, Hinkley, Baroni.


Stoic Colts Stand Tall

To look at the scoreboard the Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts coasted to a Grand Final victory against University at Kingsway Reserve last Saturday.

And to some extent they did, but it was built around stoic team defence in the second quarter when University came at them hard. The collective ability of the Beach defence to withstand a relentless assault from the Scholars was remarkable.

In fact, it was premiership defining.

Having made the start they needed to lead by seven points at the first break, the Beach looked to consolidate as they kicked against a slight breeze.

As expected University surged and it seemed like the ball was locked in their forward half for the first 18 minutes of the second term. Every time they penetrated their attacking arc, however, the Beach repelled it.

They either forced a turn-over from their ferocious pressure, created a stoppage or scrambled the ball from the danger zone. Whatever it took, they did it.

University had set up a wall across half-forward and they established a run of consecutive forward 50 entries.

At that stage, it was a question of whether the Beach could hold back the dam wall or eventually crumble. Could they resist the continual assault and launch a successful counter strike?

The latter occurred. After repelling the relentless barrage, they produced a sling-shot sortie of their own, converted in the closing minutes of the term and it sucked the energy out of University.

When they kicked the first couple of goals of the third quarter the opposition’s collective shoulders began to droop, the Beach were gliding across the ground and produced a wonderful adrenaline-charged second half to win 8.5 (53) to 1.1 (7).

Victory was built around the class of Max Caiacob on a wing, midfielder William Dobson, who won the medal for best afield, ruckman Brodie Everett and forward Zac Farrell. Caiacob played the wing to perfection, holding his width to offer an outlet, but also attacked with his run and carry so often testing the University defence.

Dobson was similarly impressive, running hard both ways and displaying a genuine thirst for the contest while Everett dominated around stoppages and the raw athleticism of Farrell proved problematic for the University defence.

In the back half skipper Tom Emes led with purpose, both with instruction and with his own performance, and was at his best when the Beach were under siege.

Sebastian Deselys-Claite also showed class and skill while Josh Smith was another strong contributor.

With the premiership pennant within their grasp when leading by five goals, the Beach rammed home the advantage in the final quarter with Dobson putting the exclamation mark on his performance with a ridiculous goal from the pocket.

And moments later, if University had any doubts that it simply was not their day, Josh Smith “kicked” an even more remarkable goal to completely douse their spirit. As the University defence moved the ball across the last line, an attempted clearing kick from the danger zone hit Smith on the leg as he prepared to smother. It then ricocheted off his leg over the line for the final goal of the game.


Indian Ocean Hotel Brett Jones Colts
Grand Final

North Beach      2.1         3.1         6.1         8.5         53
University           1.0         1.0         1.1         1.1           7
Goals – North Beach: Farrell 2; Dobson, Smith, Jones, Rocke, Everett, Jolley.
Best – North Beach: Caiacob, Dobson, Emes, J Smith, Deselys-Claite, Everett, Farrell.


Sixes Triumph In 110-Point Reversal

Premiership teams always contain special individual stories within the sub-plot.

When the GJ Osplumb E4-Grade triumphed on Saturday against Jandakot there were countless tributaries leading to the tsunami of success that swept across Wyong Reserve.

Aside from the amazing form reversal of a 110-point turn-around from the qualifying final, when the Beach lost by 70 points, to a dominant 40-point win there were myriad personal tales of perseverance, resilience and pure elation.

For the revered Novak “Jesus” Smith, a champion of the lower grades for a couple of decades, it was his first premiership. A day was 23 years in the making. Previous grand finals had produced despair and heartache. Finally ecstasy.

In 1994 Peter Panagopoulos played in a colts premiership. He thought there would be more. Until Saturday, though, it had been barren. Now he has two precious medals – 28 years apart.

Then there was Paul Cavanagh whose patience paled with a 13-year wait to experience the pleasure of a grand final victory.

And the collective. In two-and-a-half hours of high-calibre footy this group – particularly coach Will Hooper – forgot about the constant year-on-year battle for players. The desperate last-minute phone calls to the cavalry.

“Sixth grade teams aren’t meant to be in finals, let alone win a grand final”. Those words were uttered by Hooper after a stunning performance.

The momentous win could not have come without that loss a fortnight earlier, a painful wake-up call that the side could no longer get by on talent and a game plan tailored on the fly.

The group got back together the Monday after that game and everyone got a chance to voice their opinions and ideas on how the side could turn it around. It was a productive session with constructive feedback and this led to record numbers of 6’s at training.

The team arrived to unusually perfect conditions in Bentley, which heightened the opportunity to use younger legs where run and spread would be the catalysts – the MO not renowned by the small oval specialists.

Coach Hooper made a number of moves designed to quell the influence of some of their key players and free up some of ours, including moving Brandon Ingleby to start in the middle, leaving Razz Hart up forward and releasing Sean Hill onto his preferred wing position after a successful stint down back.

When Jandakot got a clean centre clearance and hit a forward on the lead for a goal within 30 seconds, it would have been easy for the team to adopt a “here we go again” mindset, but no one wavered in their belief.

The Beach hit back with hard running and fast ball movement, hitting the scoreboard with momentum, a one-point lead sending a message that this would be a different game to the previous encounter.

In the second quarter Jandakot attempted to move the ball quickly with short, fast possession. This tactic dominated us in the first game but we were able to stifle their impressive skills by working harder without the ball, with Hill running riot on the wing and punishing them on the counter attack. Xavier Williamson also drove his team forward with his intercept ability and booming kick.

There was a call for greater composure at quarter time, to lower the eyes and to hit up Brendan Collins, who slotted through a major. The unselfishness on display was impressive as the forward line worked as a unit.

While Hart asserted himself in the second and Jandakot having no match up capable of going with him, he ran into an open goal which was a massive team lifter. Mitch Clarke bravely played on after a shoulder dislocation, getting strapped and coming out to kick a huge snap to increase our lead.

The midfield was tireless and creating constant havoc, with the likes of Damian Premici and Alex Durante running riot, helping us fire to a three-goal half time lead which had Jandakot on the ropes and looking lost for answers.

Heading into the rooms, the message was simple – keep playing the game on the Beach’s terms and to avoid going into their shells.

The third term in a tight arm wrestle for the first few minutes. The unconventional (small) half-forward line was being paid little respect, as the bigger bodies of Jandakot continually pushed back off their men, trying to block the space for Hart and Collins and daring the Beach to kick for goal from what they thought was beyond our range.

When Jack Manea found himself all alone with the ball around 40m out, he bravely played on and kicked through a swirler on the run, which carried through to a huge roar from the crowd.

Just a few minutes later, Premici kicked one of the all-time premiership quarter goals. Running into goal, he combined for a 1-2 handball receive, danced out of trouble, danced back into trouble, before somehow weaving through all the traffic and snapping a banana on the run.

It sent the crowd and himself into a frenzy. Jandakot started panicking and gave away cheap free kicks, including a 50m penalty to Premici who popped through another goal, one of his four for the day. When Hart sold some candy and danced around his man for a slick major, the lead had ballooned beyond six goals and the boys could smell a monumental upset.

The three-quarter time huddle was calm and steady, belying the excitement within as they focused on a clutch quarter. They absorbed the first five minutes by congesting the play and not allowing Jandakot to move the ball, who were keen to play on at every opportunity.

Jandakot broke through eventually for the first to move the margin to within a realistic range, but the Beach responded and hit back on a big counter attack as Hill the ball on the run and streamed into open goal for a crucial steadier.

A few more minutes of solid defensive footy, again releasing on the counter to Hart set up Mitch Evans for the sealer.  Razz’s unselfishness was rewarded with the final goal of the game, running in and kicking true to send the crowd into ruptures.

Despite being seven goals clear with five minutes left, the boys did not let up or start celebrating right until the final siren, when a sea of relief and jubilation swept across the field and the bench in a day that still feels like a dream.

It was a consummate team performance and so satisfying.

Down back the boys worked as a cohesive unit, with club legend Pana injuring an ankle and playing out the game and still beating his opponent, whilst Jack Lazenby completely nullified Rocco Ferrero, identified as one of their major weapons.

Jake MV and Jared Krammer beat their direct opponents and provided assured ball use out of the backline all day. Michael Humphrey saved his two best games for the season for the finals, getting to every contest and getting up after a late hit to bravely play on. Xavier Williamson played another outstanding game, getting to contests as the third man and either marking or bringing the ball to ground before driving us forward time and again, while Leighton Gurney provided the defensive chop out on a hot day.

The midfield is where we were soundly beaten in the first final and the group completely flipped this script on its head. The boys finally made use of Ryan Clapham’s dominance, nullifying Jandakot’s dangerous midfield and winning the clearance battle for the day. Brandon Ingleby and Jordon Mesiti were both wrecking balls and Damian Premici was untouchable all afternoon, weaving through all-comers.

Alex Durante put his body on the line as he has done all year and used some slick ball use to drive the Beach forward. Sean Hill had an absolute day out and was in the running for best on ground, with his constant running, poise and marking making him a standout.

Special mention must be given to Mitch Evans, who asked to matchup on Jandakot’s dangerous winger who dominated the team in the first final. He was able to completely nullify him, sacrificing his own game in the process. He was rewarded with the last goal of the game to cap off his self-less day of footy.

Mitch Clarke played on with a busted shoulder and contributed two crucial goals in the second when the game was on the line. Captain Paul Cavanagh provided a rest for the boys when needed, coming on to play crucial minutes despite carrying bruised ribs into the match.

Up forward, the boys were calm, composed and unselfish. Nothing was rushed and the accuracy on the day was outstanding. Brendan Collins overcame a torn hamstring in the first quarter to still contribute, crashing packs and dishing off handballs to teammates in space.

Jack Manea, Novak Smith, Chris Sandon and Josh Veroni all played taller than their stature, putting body on and using our ground ball advantage to apply pressure all day, with Veroni in particular using his presence to break free of tackles multiple times and send us forward into dangerous areas.

Razz Hart was simply unstoppable, bringing out all his tricks and electrifying pace to dominate in the air and around the ground, kicking four stylish goals that Jandakot had no answer for.

Coach Hooper had a masterclass, taking all the lessons learnt from the first final and applying specific game day strategies designed to nullify the quality Jandakot and give us our best chance. It was a just reward for a coach who has been through some tough times in previous years, and he inspired the team to play a perfect game that went beyond even his wildest expectations.

This wasn’t just a flag for the 22 on the day, it was a flag for everyone who has helped at some point throughout the year. The 6’s are always scrambling on a Saturday morning at the best of times, and the side simply doesn’t survive without people like our boundary and goal umpires Josh and Riley, who have travelled to the nether regions of the Perth metro area week after week, and people like Michael Newman who sacrifice their own time to assist with running and coaching duties.

It doesn’t happen without the 60 players who found their way through the 6’s team throughout the year, including stalwarts like Ian “Slimy” Tester, Tom Hunter, Jack Andrich, Fraser Stuart and Mark Korkoulis.

There are many games where the side managed to field the bare 18 players and without their contributions the Beach would not have won enough games to be in the position to chase the glory. And finally, congratulations to club legend Novak “Jesus” Smith.

This one was for him.


GJ Osplumb E4-Grade
Grand Final
North Beach      4.1         8.2         12.3       15.5       95
Jandakot            4.0         5.2         6.5        8.7        55
Goals – North Beach: Premici, Hart 4; Clark 2; Evans, Manea, Ingleby, Hill, Collins.
Best – North Beach: Premici, Hart, Clapham, Hill, Evans, Mesiti.


 

A-Grade Curtin Drawn, Ressies In GF

Apologies to the generations that don’t relate to the Road Runner cartoon, but those who were amused by those encounters with Wily Coyote will get the analogy.

When the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade was poised on a number of occasions to apply genuine pressure to Curtin-Wesley in last week’s preliminary final, their would-be prey wriggled free.

It felt like Curtin were on a long occy strap. Every time the Beach reeled them in and were poised to grab them, the elasticity of the cord kicked in and they eluded their grasp. They were like the poor old Wily Coyote, always in pursuit but never quite able to complete the task.

It was not a question of endeavour; the Beach worked hard and tried every way possible to break the nexus but simply could not string enough quality passages together to advance past the preliminary final into this week’s premiership play-off.

Perhaps the day was summed up in a few minutes of play either side of three-quarter time.

After kicking consecutive goals late in the third quarter, the Beach opened the door for Curtin to kick a goal on the siren that gave them a three-goal buffer at the last change. It took a little wind out of the Beach momentum although there remained a belief that superior fitness could get the job done.

Then, in the opening minutes of the last term, Curtin kicked the first goal. The margin was back out to four goals and that remained the gap at full time.

Clearly the result was gut-wrenching, but there remained some stand out individual performances. Matt Holden had the task opposed to Cory Dell’Olio and played with heart and spirit in one of the key match-ups, restricting the former South Fremantle and Essendon dangerman to two goals.

Dylan Campbell was also ubiquitous in the back half while Jack Beverley and Brayden Lawler worked hard through the midfield and forward and Dan Leishman provided strong run from the wing, capping off his game with two goals.

Ruckman Kyle Cranley had another engrossing battle with former South Fremantle premiership player Brock Higgins and both Nic Wells and Matt Murray completed strong seasons with quality displays.

While the oxygen was taken out of the air through the A-Grade loss, the Lifenet A-Reserves had earlier ensured there would again be a strong North Beach flavour at Steel Blue Oval on Grand Final day.

Strong, focused and disciplined the Beach were never under threat as they marched past Trinity Aquinas with a 54-point victory which sets them up for a shot at arch rivals Scarborough on Saturday.

The Beach 11.7 (73) to 2.7 (19) victory was set up with a miserly first half when they kept their opponents goal-less. They had winners all over the ground with ruckman Josh Chapman giving a quality midfield first class service.

Steve Mansfield, Adam Swain and Tim Edwards all took advantage of those opportunities and ensured a flood of supply inside the attacking arc where Nathan Adler and Jordan Webster took full toll.

Down back a couple of players important in the club’s future again showed their wares with Chris Wells and Egan Brooks under notice throughout.


O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Preliminary Final

Curtin Wesley    3.0         6.4         9.5         12.6       78
North Beach      2.1         4.2         6.5         8.6        54
Goals – North Beach: Leishman, Garcia 2; Lucassen, Lawler, Scurria, Lamont.
Best – North Beach: Campbell, Holden, Leishman, Beverley, Cranley, Lawler.

Lifenet A-Reserves
Preliminary Final
North Beach      3.3         5.4         6.6         11.7       73
Trinity Aquinas 0.1         0.4         1.6         2.7        19
Goals – North Beach: Adler 5; Webster 2; Mansfield, O’Connell, McIntosh, Josh Chapman.
Best – North Beach: C Wells, Adler, Josh Chapman, Edwards, Mansfield, Swain.


 

Round 5 Wrap Up

Beach stalls against rampant CBC It was like North Beach were driving a pursuit car…