By Gary Stocks
Everything Craig Dalton and his colts squad has done for the last nine months has been with this day in mind.
Unpacking his work tools from his Triton every Tuesday and Thursday and loading it up with agility poles, bump bags, water bottles and footies for training at Sacred Heart Oval was all about putting in the hard yards in pre-season.
It has carried on right throughout the year, with his ute doubling as an equipment room, transporting all of the training necessities to and from a temporary training venue in Karrinyup.
With the North Beach Football Club’s traditional home undergoing a massive facelift, the dislocated club has operated out of three different training venues. It has been a challenging season, but the colts squad has risen above the ordinary and the reward for the Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts is a place in tomorrow’s grand final at Lathlain Park.
Dalton, who has his team finely tuned, will go into this match against University with a degree of confidence. They haven’t beaten the students during the year, but when they last met, on a dirty, wintry day at Percy Doyle, they led for most of the game.
And there is no question the Beach is playing better footy now.
After losing the qualifying final to Fremantle CBC, going into that match underdone with a few soft victories to close out the home and away season, Dalton’s boys have responded magnificently. First they despatched Trinity Aquinas emphatically in the first semi-final and then were equally impressive in dispensing with CBC last Saturday.
They have class and composure all over the ground and certainly have the capacity to bring the club its first A Colts premiership in a decade.
The back six is resilient and committed, there is strong run and cohesion through the midfield and a spread of marking and goalkicking talent up forward that makes it difficult for the opposition to close down all options.
Jarrod Chapman, Jack O’Gorman and Brennen Irvine lead by example down back, while Jamie Rudrum, Joel Brown and Nick Bowe have been consistent through the midfield and ensure there is always pressure on the opposition, while up forward Mitch Cameron and Ryan Ekert are reliable avenues.
There has been some tough selection decisions through the finals series and that was again the case for this clash where a whole season of effort goes on the line.
This week’s game starts at the earlier time of 10am so the North Beach faithful are encouraged to get there early and throw their voice behind the future of the club. And because of the wear and tear on Medibank Stadium, the grand final has been assigned to Lathlain Park.
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
University v North Beach, Lathlain Park , 10am