By Gary Stocks
North Beach began its A-grade title defence in emphatic fashion with and 88-point demolition of Wembley at Henderson Park on Saturday.
Aiming to extend its record of six successive premierships, the Beach produced and irresistible brand of football which left Wembley searching for answers.
Through precise and skilful ball movement, the Beach established control from half-back forward and found star spearhead Mitch Holbrook ready to finish off that strong work. Holbrook, who last year topped the best and fairest pool only to be ineligible through suspension, was in sparkling touch kicking 11 goals.
Defensively the Tigers were also in control with Reece Cunningham, Aaron Jarvis and Scott Ward impenetrable and through the midfield Matt O’Donnell, Mick Bryan and Luke Hendricks were in superb touch.
All players contributed in an outstanding display which has set the club off to a positive start.
North Beach 5.2 10.7 13.12 19.16 130
Wembley 1.1 3.3 5.5 6.6 42
Goals – M Holbrook 11; Witheridge 2; O’Donnell, Hendricks, Ward, Bryan, Italiano, Power.
Best – Cunningham, M Holbrook, Jarvis, Bryan, O’Donnell, Tucker, Hendricks.
The A-reserves also started positively, albeit in contrasting fashion.
The Tigers endured by two points in an epic and absorbing contest where players at either end of their careers were strong contributors.
Dingo Nunan was in outstanding touch and was ably assisted by recent colts graduates, Joel Fishlock and Trevor Lang, while Peter Bird, Rob McComiskie and Lloyd Quinlan were also influential in the pulsating triumph.
North Beach 3.3 5.5 6.6 8.12 60
Wembley 4.1 4.3 7.4 9.4 58
Goals – Fishlock 2; McEvoy, Quinlan, R McComiskie, Sajich, Bird, Potts.
Best – Nunan, Fishlock, Lang.
The Phil Scott Colts team paid a heavy price for some undisciplined actions and untimely injuries in going down to Wembley by 14 points.
Reduced to having no bench early in the game, that took a toll when the game was on the line but disappointingly the boys also coughed up a couple of costly 50 metre penalties.
That aside, there were some impressive individual performances with ruckman Ross Holdman shining out through his appetite for hard work while Matt Irvine was solid at centre half-back, Aaron Brooks was constantly under notice through the midfield and Josh Stott was lively on a wing and across half-forward.
Phil Scott Division Colts
Wembley 10.13 (71) defeated North Beach 8.9 (57)
Goals – Kickett 3; Barber, Stott, Irvine, Knott.
Best- Holdman, Irvine, Brooks, Stott.
The Brett Jones Division colts team also suffered a first-up defeat against a strong University combination.
Again, with limited resources available on the interchange bench because of several absentees, the North Beach players worked hard against an opposition with seven players on the pine. The work rate and determination of the boys could not be questioned and with a little care in front of goal, could have applied greater pressure.
Shane Fulwood, who dropped back from the Phil Scott team to ensure this team had a full line-up, was outstanding while Mitch Christie, Gus Barwick, Mark Langsford, James Perry and Charlie Slatter were consistent contributors.
Brett Jones Division Colts
University 8.12 (60) defeated North Beach 4.8 (32)
Goals – Johnson, Slatter, Perris, Foreman.
Best – Fulwood, Christie, Barwick, Langsford, Perry, Slatter.
The E-grade team produced a solid four-quarter effort in dispensing with Wembley. After being locked at a goal each at quarter-time, the Beach did not allow their opponents to kick another goal through the duration.
With Sam Keely providing an able target up forward and the likes of Matt Allen, Simon Ongley, Adam Gangemi, Justin Sajich and Simon Lorimer consistently pumping the ball forward, the Beach carried too much fire power.
North Beach 1.3 3.5 3.8 7.11 53
Wembley 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.3 9
Goals – Keely 3; Collins, Ongley, Sajich.
Best – Allen, Ongley, Gangemi, Sajich, Lorimer.
In the E-reserves, the Tigers faded badly in the second half as Wembley cruised to a 30-point victory.
Joel Vagnoni , Leon Inkster, Luke Fester, Tim Elliott and Andy Mears worked hard, but needed more support.
Wembley 1.4 2.5 5.5 8.6 54
North Beach 1.1 2.3 3.6 3.6 24
Goals – Stocks, Pears, Pileggi.
Best – Vagnoni, Inkster, Fester, Elliott.
The G-Grade team also fell away in the final quarter against Melville, slipping to a 53-point defeat.
Scott Brown, Jay Carroll and Scott Bailey worked hard, but could not stop Melville producing a seven goal final term which carried them to victory.
Melville 4.2 8.9 9.10 16.10 106
North Beach 1.3 3.3 8.4 8.5 53
Goals – Misilos, Bailey 2; Powell, Churlic, Bluchy, Simon.
Best – Brown, Carroll, Bailey.