By Gary Stocks
Perhaps it was indicative of the rocky 2015 journey, but suddenly the method in an O’Rourke Realty A-Grade victory mattered as much as the four points.
Where a few weeks earlier, merely winning was all that counted. But last Saturday against Mt Lawley, a club sitting without a win on the bottom of the table, the method in a 27-point win over the Hawks was not as clean or clinical as the coaches or players would have liked.
Too many turn-overs through the midfield, too many scoring opportunities gifted to the opposition. Not enough grunt or energy, not enough precise footy going inside the attacking 50 where the Beach had a number of forwards, including Christian Bottechia, Joel Fishlock and Kyle Cranley so eager to hit the scoreboard.
While the game was tighter than it needed to be, it never felt like the Beach would lose. But the system was not quite there. The transition from defence through the midfield was sloppy and so was the connection to the forwards. Mentally the boys were not sharp.
Poor skill errors consistently ruined opportunities to put Mt Lawley under genuine heat and in turn created counter attacks, which put the Beach defence under pressure.
Eventually, though, there was enough class to nail the club’s eighth win of the year –thanks largely to the work of the aforementioned forwards, hard working midfielders Dion Cownie, Beau Witheridge and Michael Italiano, defender Matt Irvine and ruckman Kieren Yakas, who not only gave the midfield first use at stoppages, but also kicked three last-term goals when the game was on the line.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves put on a clinic in the pre-cursor to the senior game, with Mt Lawley failing to score after quarter-time.
Given the nature of the dominance, it’s reasonable to assume everyone contributed to the 137-point waltz, but Liam Ellis shone with six goals up forward, Steve Bandy dominated on a wing, Andy Langsford was ubiquitous across half-back while Earl Quinlan and Rob Scantlebury were also outstanding.
The Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts were reminded of the work required to achieve their season targets when they fell agonisingly short against Mt Lawley – losing on the last play of the game.
From a stoppage just the attacking side of the Hawks wing on the grandstand side of the ground, the ball was forced out the back, into the corridor where Mt Lawley found space and kicked the winning goal.
As impressive as the effort was for the young Hawks, it was disappointing for the Beach, with team structures and disciplines falling away at a critical moment in the game.
Brad Waters, Nathan Adler, Ben Evans and Liam Hooper were outstanding and will be looking for total buy-in from teammates in the last qualifying game against Kalamunda this week.
After a tight and entertaining first half the Red Hill Brett Jones Colts failed to match University after the long break, slipping off top perch and playing a qualifying final this week rather than earning a rest.
The boys lost by 19 points despite the best endeavours of Jayden Higgins, Joel Warner and Pierce Rollo.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade scored an impressive 35-point win over the Scholars, which enabled the Beach to lock onto second spot.
With a mix of experience and youth, the Beach pushed home their advantage and will enter the finals series brim-full of confidence. Led by youngster Michael Hoskins, experienced utility player Alex Luck, wily veteran Ben Heap, Alex Billi and Jason Davis, the Beach carried too much fire-power for the opposition.
The Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves were engaged in an absorbing battle with the Scholars, which Uni eventually won by 10 points, with the Beach paying the price for a sluggish first quarter.
Regardless there was enough encouragement for the Beach to take some belief and confidence into the first final against the same opponent next week.
The season ended in disappointing fashion for the Express Bins E1-Grade, losing by 10 goals to Swan Districts.
It was always going to be a challenging year with the fifths elevated a grade after reaching the grand final last season. They confronted more senior teams from opposition clubs in E1 and were largely competitive despite the challenge.
Again John Oxborrow, Michael Quartermaine, Michael Kennedy, Tony Mirabile and Daniel Bavcevich were solid contributors.
North Beach 5.3 7.8 11.12 16.15 111
Mt Lawley 2.3 4.4 8.4 13.6 84
Goals – North Beach: Bottechia 4; Fishlock, Yakas 3; Cranley 2; Dwyer, Ekert, Harvey, Reid.
Best – North Beach: Bottechia, Cownie, Witheridge, Yakas, Italiano, Fishlock.
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach 2.6 10.7 14.11 21.13 139
Mt Lawely 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 2
Goals – North Beach: Ellis 6; Griffiths 3; Bandy, Cameron, Hackett, Hall 2; Wilson, Spencer, Quinlan Host.
Best – North Beach: Bandy, A Langsford, Ellis, Quinlan, Scantlebury, Ellis.
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
Mt Lawley 2.2 5.6 6.12 8.13 61
North Beach 3.4 4.5 6.5 9.6 60
Goals – North Beach: Adler 5; Borerszky, Hooper, Lowndes, Gerrand.
Best – North Beach: Waters, Adler, Evans, Hooper.
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
North Beach 4.2 8.4 11.7 12.10 82
University 0.2 2.2 5.3 7.5 47
Goals – North Beach: Bubnich, S Duckworth, Miller, Hempel 2; Campbell, Christie, Heap, Hart.
Best – North Beach: Hoskins, Luck, Heap, Billi, Davis.
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
University 3.1 6.1 8.2 9.2 56
North Beach 1.0 4.2 6.2 7.4 46
Goals – North Beach: Csar 3; McGuire 2; Orr-Young, Potts.
Best – North Beach:
Red Hill Brett Jones Colts
University 2.5 4.5 8.6 10.7 67
North Beach 2.2 4.2 4.4 7.6 48
Goals – North Beach: Higgins, Reidy 2; Hinkley, Rollo, Warner.
Best – North Beach:
Express Bins E1-Grade
Swan Districts 4.1 8.3 10.6 14.9 93
North Beach 1.1 2.2 3.4 4.6 30
Goals – North Beach: Milalyk, Lynch.
Best – North Beach: Quartermaine, Kennedy, Mirabile, Bavcevich.