NEWS

Classy response to curve ball (post on September 19, 2017)

The victorious Lifenet A-Reserves

The victorious Lifenet A-Reserves

By Gary Stocks
Sport has a habit of throwing up a curve ball when it is least expected.
And two young men at North Beach Football Club confronted the most challenging of tests in the days leading up to WA Amateur Football League grand finals last Saturday.
Jordan Webster had been a part of the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade campaign all season. He had been a strong contributor in some games, a little less impactful in others.
When it came to selection night for the season decider, with a full list of players from which to construct the team to play Trinity-Aquinas, Webster was the unlucky player to miss a place in the starting 22.
Thankfully, with the Lifenet A-Reserves also playing in the grand final, some of the sting of that decision was absorbed by the fact that he still had a game to play.
But the cascading effect of one decision had its ramifications further down the chain and Craig Hall, who plays a similar role to Webster in the A-Reserves, was also asked to make way. The manner in which both men handled the disappointment was testimony to their character.
Hall adopted the role of a line coach for the A-Reserves and Webster proved a match-winner in the one-point thriller which saw them claim the flag.
Unfortunately, the A-Grade game did not go according plan; anything that could go wrong on the day did go wrong, from the early stages of the contest.
About 20 minutes into the game revered captain Beau Witheridge went down with a knee injury; collapsing at the rear of contest for no obvious reason. He did not return to battle.
Not only were the Beach down a man, it was their best player. The best grunt player in the team and one who so often inspires others in tough situations.
And to complicate things for the Beach, the opposition’s best forward was having an early impact. Former Fremantle forward Ryan Murphy was on song from the outset, converting a wonderful set shot from about 50 metres, into the prevailing breeze at Bassendean Oval.
Those two events, that occurred only minutes apart, would have a profound effect on the outcome of a grand final that ultimately would be won by Trinity Aquinas – 11.8 (74) to 5.10 (40).
Murphy kicked five first-half goals and was the central player in the Boomers kicking eight goals, without a blemish, in a surge that set them on the path to back-to-back premierships.
The Beach, as they had done all season, persevered and got back to within 15 points in the third quarter, but could not fashion another goal to get the margin back to single digits and intensify the pressure on TA.
Tom Hooper went to full-back and put the clamps on Murphy while Mitch Dwyer, Ryan Ekert and Nic Reid tried to conjure scoreboard pressure up forward and Andrew McGuinness, Sam Lamont and Dan Leishman did all they could to get some fluency in the Beach’s football.
Ruckman Kieren Yakas battled manfully against a much bigger opponent, Matt Irvine rebounded strongly out of the back half but this was a day when things simply did not fall to the advantage of the Beach.
The experience of Murphy and Quinten Lynch, along with former WAFL players Matt Jukes, who won the BG Giles Medal as best afield, Luke Salamone and Dene White proved telling, while captain Preston O’Keefe and Tom Crossland were also influential.
After finishing on top of the premiership table at the completion of the qualifying rounds it was a tough defeat to digest.
Conversely, the performance of the A-Reserves was amazing.
The Beach did not take the lead in this decider against Scarborough until a clever snap from Webster at about the 17-minute mark of the last term. With set 20 minute quarters with no time on, it was an incredible piece of timing.
Still, Scarborough came one more time, had a shot from about 40 metres that was tight but deemed a behind by the goal umpire and the Beach endured by a point, winning 5.5 (35) to 4.10 (34).
Scarborough had made all of the early running and could easily have created a decisive break at half-time when they led 4.5 to 1.2 and the young Beach team was adjusting to the pressure and intensity of a grand final.
They re-grouped at half-time, grew in confidence as they began to establish some links in their football and chip away at the lead. For coach Scott Holbrook it erased some of the dark memories of a four-point loss in the 2016 grand final.
Webster, the only multiple goal-kicker for the club, won the medal for best afield while Jordan Veitch and Adam Swain were important through the midfield, Shaun Foley and Jarrod Chapman were solid in defence and Ryan Hart provided some flair and dare on a wing.
Details
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Grand Final
Trinity Aquinas 3.0 8.2 8.4 11.8 74
North Beach 1.4 3.5 5.6 5.10 40
Goals – Trinity Aquinas: Murphy 5; Walker, White 2; O’Keefe, Van Beeck. North Beach: Reid 2; Italiano, M Dwyer, Ekert.
Best – Trinity Aquinas: Jukes, Crossland, Murphy, Birrell, O’Keefe, White. North Beach: Hopper, M Dwyer, McGuinness, Irvine, Yakas, Leishman, Lamont.
Lifenet A-Reserves

Grand Final
North Beach 1.0 1.2 3.3 5.5 35
Scarborough 2.5 4.5 4.8 4.10 34
Goals – North Beach: Webster 2; Veitch, Foreman, S Foley.
Best – North Beach: Webster, Veitch, DeCourtenay, Swain, Foley, Chapman, Hart.


Hynes ushers new era (post on September 15, 2017)

Senior coach David Hynes makes a point

Senior coach David Hynes makes a point

By Gary Stocks
For North Beach the 2010 season was something special.
It marked the first time in club history that the A-Grade and A-Reserves won premierships and it was seven in succession for Bill Duckworth and the seniors. By any measure it was a remarkable era, unique in fact, as it was the longest winning sequence in senior amateur football around the country.
If winning premierships was second nature to the Beach so was toasting success. We celebrated hard, as was the custom, in those dilapidated old changerooms. Little did we know the landscape was about to change.
Of course everyone was aware of the pending physical change to the club’s long-standing home with the City of Stirling committing to building a new facility on the site. But the transformation of the team, in the next few years, would be every bit as dramatic.
Unaware of the extent of the transition that loomed on the horizon the 2010 premierships would be the punctuation mark on an amazing era.
Though the Beach would play finals in the next two seasons, Bill Duckworth, the architect behind that stunning run of domination, would step down as senior coach. All good things come to an end and he would be replaced by 1994 West Coast premiership ruckman David Hynes.
And so the Beach entered a new era.
It wouldn’t have mattered who took over from Duckworth it was going to be tough, a monumental challenge. Even Alastair Clarkson would have had his issues with so many of the stalwarts of the time also hanging up the boots.
Duckworth was the conductor, but he had some gifted musicians playing in harmony. Chris Perkin, Simon Pearce, Chris Pearce, Matt Fong, Mitch Holbrook, Luke Smith and a host of other luminaries either peeled back to play at lower levels or retired altogether.
Other decorated stars like Kyle Riemann, Aaron Jarvis, Ben Wilson, Steve Bandy, Joe Boys, Anthony Ingham and “Dingo” Nunan continued for a year or two, but slowly they drifted away (although Bandy, Boys and Wilson played in last week’s D1-Reserves premiership).
With a reasonably strong presence of seniority sticking soild, Hynes was able to take the Beach to a finals series in his first year – the last season at the club’s historical home. But more of the players who had been pivotal to the glut of premierships faded into the next phase of their lives.
Young players who thrived at the back end of the Duckworth era, like Beau Witheridge and Mitch Dwyer, assumed seniority – and leadership – through attrition. It was thrust upon them in what would become a couple of the most challenging years in club history.
Unity, resilience and commitment had been strong values instilled in North Beach across the generations but it was sorely tested when the club was dislocated to Percy Doyle Oval. It was a place to base the club while the new facility was being erected, but it presented more than a few challenges.
A club of lesser fibre would probably have collapsed.
Both on and off-field things were at breaking strain. The venue lacked soul and the senior squad lacked experience and direction. There was pressure in every sense.
You could see it in the eyes of the club’s army of supporters; the doubt, the disappointment – even, at times, the hostility. With the primary target of avoiding relegation being the first objective, the club was in unfamiliar territory.
Hynes could hear the rumbles of malcontent and he must surely have wondered whether it was all worth it. But he’s a competitive beast and has been around success throughout his football journey. He was a three-time premiership player at Port Adelaide, a Fos Williams medallist representing SA at State of Origin level, then played in a flag with the Eagles and another at South Fremantle.
That doesn’t happen by accident.
So he dug in and prepared for a scrap; he knew it would not happen overnight, but he was confident the Beach could return as a force.
Witheridge, the best player in the team, was not a natural leader; well not in the vocal sense, he was more the bloke who played with absolute commitment and set the example in that manner. Dwyer, more instructional with his voice, was the perfect ally.
And then Michael Taylor, a talented utility player, returned to the club. He had already coached in country football so had a sense of what it took to get everyone on the same page. With Ingham also a part of that early leadership group, Hynes instilled a sense of ownership in the program to the players.
He was the senior coach, but gradually handed over the keys to the playing group.
It took a little time for this model to gather momentum, but the first physical signs of this evolution were evident last year when the O’Rourke Realty A-Grade team finished the qualifying rounds in third position and the Lifenet A-Reserves played in a grand final.
It is difficult to equate relative ages, but one suspects this is the youngest senior squad in the competition. Developing and building home-grown talent is the only sustainable formula and one senses that regardless of what happens in tomorrow’s grand finals, the Beach will be a major player in the WAAFL for the foreseeable future.
The evolution has continued in this remarkable 2017 campaign. That sense of unity, resolve and commitment was never more evident than it was post-training on Thursday night.
With the session completed the entire senior group linked arms and formed a circle in the middle of Charles Riley Reserve. They were as one.


Pain gain is 2017 flag (post on September 13, 2017)

Joe Boys showed his class with another best on ground performance

Joe Boys showed his class with another best on ground performance

By Gary Stocks
Premiership ecstasy rarely comes without an element of pain, angst and even doubt.
All of those elements were evident when the Coast to Coast Imports played in the D1-reserves grand final against University last Saturday, but the Beach overcame those barriers before securing their second successive premiership.
With another dominant performance from ruckman Joe Boys, the Beach endured in a gripping contest to win by 17 points – 9.7 (61) to 6.8 (54).
Boys, clearly the best player in the competition all season, winning the fairest and best medal for the competition, he also backed it up in the biggest game of the season to win best afield honours. He had also been the stand-out performer in the second semi-final domination of the Scholars.
Clearly University went to school on some of the lessons learned from the early finals defeat on their home turf and this game was tighter and tougher than the encounter a fortnight earlier.
Indeed University led by a goal in the early stages of the second term and continued to push the Beach to the line before the mix of class and experience from the defending champions saw them stave off the challenge.
While the performance of Boys was a key factor in the victory, the grit of a young forward was also indicative of the commitment of this team. Ben McAuliffe copped an early hit to the face, adding some size to his nose, and medical staff had trouble stemming the flow of blood.
But he persisted, was several times sent from the field under the blood rule when poised to take a shot at goal, but refused to surrender.
He kicked only one goal, but along with another young tyro, Josh Cuzens, who kicked two goals, proved valuable attacking foils for experienced pair Ben Wilson and Josh McGinnity. Multiple A-Grade premiership players, they added a D1-Reserves title to their collection.
Also imposing his presence on the game up forward was Ryan Clapham.
Ben Heap and Steve Bandy, North Beach luminaries who had enjoyed success at the highest level of amateur football, who each played in the team last year, added more silverware as did Scott Ward.
Those experienced heads, around some quality young players, provided the perfect balance as coach Michael Newman orchestrated consecutive premierships.
Results
Coast to Coast Imports D1-Reserves
Grand Final
North Beach 2.2 4.5 6.6 9.7 61
University 1.2 3.2 5.5 6.8 44
Goals – North Beach: Boys, Cuzens 2; B Wilson, Csar, Viney, McAuliffe, Scantlebury.
Best – North Beach: Boys, Ward, McGinnity, Clapham, Heap, McAuliffe.


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