Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Classy North Beach midfielder Beau Witheridge is fast building a reputation as the barometer by which the team is measured and his impact in the first quarter against Swan Athletic was decisive in an important 36-point victory.
Perhaps sensing the importance of the occasion Witheridge stepped up to the plate and stamped his imprimatur against the third-placed Swan Athletic.
North Beach needed to beat Swan Athletic to avoid slipping out of reach of the leading teams in the competition and they did so on the back of an outstanding opening term.
In that devastating opening burst, Witheridge racked up 11 possessions, three marks and three goals to set the Beach on the path to victory. His individual performance created a 25-point quarter-time advantage and they were never headed, as they carved out a crucial 36-point win – 12.9 (81) to 6.9 (45).
The Beach were never seriously threatened, though Swan Athletic did close within four goals during the third term when the North Beach work rate fell away.
An impassioned Bill Duckworth speech at three-quarter time did the job as North Beach finished strongly to record the club’s third win of the season.
Witheridge was ubiquitous throughout, while he found strong allies in defender Aaron Jarvis, ruckman Alex Hack, midfielders Chris Casey and Mitch Dwyer and forwards Kyle Holden and Jason Hall.
The A-Reserves celebrated the 250-game milestone of respected stalwart Luke Smith, the finishing touch coming with Smith, a polished defender, pushed forward and kicked a late goal after marking on the paint at 50.
Smith, a nine-time premiership star, is a revered clubman and when he nailed the goal he was swamped by teammates, including long-time premiership cohorts, Chris Perkin and Simon Pearce.
Ben Wilson was also lively up forward with four goals while Tim Bowdell and Matt Power were outstanding through the midfield. Power produced a typically robust display through the middle and helped to inspire his team to an emphatic 41-point victory.
The Phil Scott Colts recorded an important 27-point win, despite a number of players being absent when deciding to attend a concert down south.
Kade Golisano, who backed up from playing in the WAAFL under-19s team the previous evening, was outstanding throughout, setting the standard for his attack on the contest and immaculate ball use.
Michael Hutchings, Josh Houghton-French and Nathan Caccamo were also strong through the midfield, while ruckman Brendan Collins dominated in the air and defenders Sam Callow and Jordan Veitch were irresistible.
The D-Grade scored a strong 53-point win over neighbouring Hamersley-Carine, with Shane Duckworth in terrific touch in defence along with Jamie Cosgrove, while Jordan Kickett posted five goals, ruckman Laim Vardy continued his stellar form and James Foley was a tireless worker.
Unfortunately, the D1-Reserves fell by 11 points, despite the best efforts of Rob Ewen, Nick Morling, who kicked three goals, Marc Gangemi and Chris Langsford.
The Brett Jones Colts were hit hard by the absence of so many players and were forced to play with 16 players and were defeated by just one point.
The boys fought bravely, and kicked four goals to none in the final term, only to be denied in the dying seconds. Jack Galvin, Max Forslind and James Winterton set the benchmark in a bold performance.
In the E2 Grade, the boys enjoyed a bus trip to Warnbro and came home with the points.
North Beach 5.3 9.4 9.6 12.9 81
Swan Athletic 1.2 2.3 4.5 6.9 45
Goals – North Beach: Witheridge 3; Jarvis, Casey 2; Hall, Harwood, Holden, A Langsford, Underwood.
Best – North Beach: Witheridge, Jarvis, Underwood, Waldock, Holden, Dwyer.
North Beach 3.3 7.5 11.7 14.7 91
Swan Athletic 1.1 3.3 4.4 7.8 50
Goals – North Beach: Wilson 4; Pearce, Perkin, Bowdell 2; Power, Robinson, Smith, McComiskie 1.
Best – North Beach: Power, Sweeney, Wilson, Bowdell.
Phil Scott Colts
North Beach 2.0 4.3 7.6 10.9 69
Swan Athletic 1.3 2.4 4.4 6.6 42
Goals – North Beach: Byrne, Ryan, Hutchings 2; Caccamo, Gray, Baker, Collins 1.
Best – North Beach: Golisano, Collins, Hutchings, Houghton-French, Veitch, Callow.
Brett Jones Colts
Wesley-Curtin 2.2 6.3 7.5 7.7 49
North Beach 2.2 2.4 3.5 7.6 48
Goals – North Beach: Flynn 2; Retamal, Brandon, Dott, Tincknell, Winterton.
Best – North Beach: Galvin, Forslind, Winterton.
North Beach 1.6 4.9 7.11 10.13 73
Ham-Carine 0.2 0.2 2.2 3.2 20
Goals – North Beach: Kickett 5; Foreman 2; Piggott, Wilson, Bubnich 1.
Best – North Beach: Duckworth, Cosgrove, Collins, Foley, Vardy.
Ham-Carine 2.3 3.3 6.3 7.8 50
North Beach 1.2 3.6 4.7 5.9 39
Goals – North Beach: Morling 3; Holdman 2.
Best – North Beach: Ewen, Morling, Gangemi, C Langsford.