THE hard yards forged at the local level do not go unnoticed and there’s no greater proof of it than Devon Meadows footballer Kyle Beveridge.
After an impressive pre-season with the Stingrays, the 17-year-old 184cm forward went back to the Nepean competition to test his mettle against senior bodies and bide his time during his debut season on the TAC Cup list.
He broke through to the Panthers’ senior line-up for its round three clash against Rosebud, but made his presence truly known in round five.
WATCH the video, attached to the the end of the article, of Kyle Beveridge copping a drenching during the Dandenong Stingrays’ post-match celebrations.
Squaring up against Frankston, Beveridge kept the Panthers in the match as he booted five goals and secured a well-deserved listing in the best afield.
With Vic Country taking a big chunk of senior Stingrays away from action throughout June-July, the five-goal haul put his name in the spotlight and opened the door for the under-age prospect to get a TAC Cup debut.
Number 59 will be forever ingrained on Beveridge’s inaugural strip and it was prominent across the field.
He got early hands on the ball – marking the first Stingrays’ centre clearance on the lead – before slotting a goal and battling manfully against the taller Northern opponents, laying bone-rattling tackles on anyone who ventured near him.
Dandenong held on to take a 19-point win despite the youthful line-up and Beveridge received a thorough drenching, alongside fellow debutant Mason De Wit, as he sang the song after his first win.
“It was alright – not too bad,” Beveridge said after the match. “It was fairly quick, but intense, and I adapted throughout the game and it starts to become easier.”
Facing up against Northern’s man mountains, Beveridge burned off the Knights’ defenders with his speed while rattling tackle-after-tackle to keep the Stingrays in attack.
“It was tough just because of the size, but I think speed-wise I had him covered and it turned out to be an alright match-up,” Beveridge said.
“You kind of have to do that now (keep up tackling pressure) – forward pressure and keep the ball inside-50.”
“We’re really happy with him as a forward coming in,” Stingrays coach Craig Black said. “He kicked a goal, but a couple of times his pressure and his tackle work allowed the ball to bobble free and we were able to score a couple of goals.
“As long as you can always do that – that’s one of the really strong points of our game – if you can put defensive pressure on as a forward and he did it.”
Beveridge will hope to hold his place in the Stingrays’ line-up that faces regional rival Gippsland on Saturday from 1pm at Shepley Oval.