By Gary Stocks
Scary thought, this? The North Beach A-grade side is still looking to produce a four-quarter effort and it has already locked away top place on the ladder.
After accounting for Fremantle CBC with a gritty 19-point win at Morris Buzzacott Reserve last Saturday, the Beach is 10 points clear at the top of the table with just two qualifying games remaining.
But coach Bill Duckworth is not yet satisfied with his troops, who have been doing enough to win without stringing together four quarters. Against CBC it was a familiar story with a disciplined first half performance, a lapse in the third opening the door for a committed opponent and then the Tigers responding with six final term goals.
Duckworth wants those lapses eliminated, knowing full-well how costly that can be in finals and will be looking to eradicate the concentration melt-downs in the next fortnight.
Against CBC, the class of Chris Pearce, the return of Steve Bandy and the efforts of Luke Hendricks, Jimmy Nunan, Chris Perkin and Ben Wilson steered the Beach across the line.
In addition Shane Paap was solid up forward, while Matt O’Donnell and John Turner added some zest and creativity.
The A-Reserves have powered into second position, a place which was cemented courtesy of a 10-goal win over CBC, ensuring maximum pressure is maintained on those players in the senior side.
Steve Wattleworth provided a strong target up forward with five goals, while Jackson Harwood also contributed three in outstanding displays. In addition Brent Stockden and Michael Italiano were both in good touch.
The experienced Scott Holbrook and Ben Heap, multiple A-Grade premiership stars, are enjoying their role in a youthful team and the harmony within the side is obvious.
The E-Grade and E-Reserves both had solid victories against Collegians at Charles Riley Reserve.
The E-Grade, also based around recently graduated colts, could have finished a little more strongly had they converted final term opportunities, but essentially had the game under control throughout.
Luke Speering provided good run out of the back half, Jake Robinson was lively up forward, while Byron Boys, Nick Morling and Simon Lorimer continued their good recent form.
After an even first half, the E-Reserves dominated the final two quarters, holding Collegians scoreless on the way to a 91-point romp.
Josh Bubnich, Joel Vagnoni, Michael Plowman, Will Prendergast and Tom Scantlebury were strong in the midfield clinches, while Lindsay Gaunt capitalised on that control to kick eight and he was ably supported by Nat Gregoire, who bagged four.
Defensively Josh Stretch, Sam Harrison and Brett Anthony, who relished the chance to play as a loose man, were also at the top of their games.
Unfortunately the G-Grade lost to bottom-placed Dianella Morley in a disappointing display.
Michael Quartermaine, Phil Braccia and Alex Bowers were among the best contributors for the Beach.
The Phil Scott Colts produced a fighting effort against top-placed CBC, before going down by 14 points.
Again a second quarter lapse which extended into the early stages of the third term cost the team dearly, with CBC rattling on seven unanswered goals after the Beach had made an enterprising start.
While that was disappointing, the boys showed that if they can sustain four consistent quarters they are capable of taking it up to the competition benchmark come finals. Matt Irvine was resilient at centre half-back, Chris Mead provided a focal point across half-forward, while Josh Barber finished with four goals and both Saxon Graham and Chris Humphrey showed a keenness for the contest.
The Brett Jones Colts produced their finest four-quarter effort of the year, with a strong display of running football in scoring a 10-goal win over Whitford.
A couple of poor defensive errors and some golden opportunities missed were the only blemishes in an otherwise impressive display.
Mark Foreman was again best-on-ground, showing his class at half-forward and through the middle, while Jarrad McMorran relished his chance to play as a ruck-rover, James Cusack excelled in the ruck and Ivan DeRooster was impassable at centre half-back.
North Beach 3.1 6.4 6.7 12.7 79
Fremantle CBC 1.3 2.4 6.5 9.6 60
Goals – North Beach: Wilson 3; Paap 2; Turner, Pearce, O’Donnell, Boys, Smith, Witheridge 1.
Best – North Beach: Pearce, Bandy, Hendricks, J Nunan, Perkin, Wilson.
North Beach 2.1 4.5 11.6 14.11 95
Fremantle CBC 1.1 2.2 4.2 5.2 32
Goals – North Beach: Wattleworth 5; Harwood 3; S Holbrook, Pires 2; Heap, Fishlock 1.
Best – North Beach: Wattleworth, Harwood, Stockden, Italiano.
North Beach 5.2 7.4 10.8 10.14 74
Collegians 1.1 3.3 4.4 7.7 49
Goals – North Beach: Keeley 3; Quinlan, Robinson, McEvoy, Lang, Jacobs, Morling, Chapman 1.
Best – North Beach: Speering, Robinson, Boys, Morling, Lorimer.
North Beach 3.5 7.10 12.14 19.15 129
Collegians 4.0 6.2 6.2 6.2 38
Goals – North Beach: Gaunt 8; Gregoire 4; Styles 2; T Cavanagh, Prendergast, Vry, French, Bubnich 1.
Best – North Beach: Gaunt, Bubnich, Gregoire, Styles, Stretch, Abbott, Vagnoni, Harrison.
Dianella-Morley 9.8 (62) def North Beach 7.2 (44)
Goals – North Beach: Bowers, Dye, McQueen, Smith, Missikos, Carroll.
Best – North Beach: Quartermaine, Braccia, Bowers.
Phil Scott Colts
Fremantle CBC 2.1 6.7 11.8 12.12 84
North Beach 4.0 4.0 6.2 11.4 70
Goals – North Beach: Barber 4; Knott, Stott, Robinson 2; Mead 1.
Best – North Beach: Irvine, Mead, Barber, Graham, Humphrey.
Brett Jones Colts
North Beach 2.6 6.10 10.12 14.15 99
Whitford 0.1 1.1 4.1 6.3 39
Goals – North Beach: Foreman, Holdman 3; Dye, McMorran 2; Miller, Perry, Emery, Gangemi 1.
Best – North Beach: Foreman, McMorran, DeRooster, Cusack, Holdman, Gangemi, Emery.