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Beech's beautiful tribute

Jono Beech Post-Match: R12 Debutant Jono Beech speaks to AFC Media post our Round 12 win.
We just wanted to represent her because we know she’s here with us – she wouldn’t miss it for the world. It was nice to kick that goal for her
Jono Beech

It was six points on the scoreboard, but the sentimental value of Jono Beech’s first AFL goal was so much more.

In the final quarter on Friday night, Beech received a handball from fellow forward Josh Jenkins inside Adelaide’s attacking 50m.

The 26-year-old debutant feigned a kick before stepping inside a St Kilda defender and calmly slotting a goal on the run from 30 metres out.

“I was lucky to be in the right position. I was going to have a shot on goal straight away, but I decided to baulk the guy in front of me,” Beech said after the game.

“I was very happy that it went through the middle. It was nice (to ‘sell some candy’).

“The boys put the ‘Candy Shop’ song on for me when we got into the change rooms after the game!”

The goal itself was great, but the reaction from Beech and his teammates gave the crowd of 46,000 goosebumps.

Charlie Cameron launched himself at Beech and tackled him to the ground, as Crows flocked from everywhere to celebrate with the popular rookie.

They knew just how much the moment meant to Beech, who lost his Mum Tammy to cancer in October.

Beech’s Dad Mick and brothers Nick, Jordan and Kylan, who were in the change rooms pre and post-game along with his sister Sheri, paid a special tribute to Tammy at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.

“The ties that my brothers and Dad are wearing are in my Mum’s favourite colour,” Beech said.

“We just wanted to represent her because we know she’s here with us – she wouldn’t miss it for the world.

"It was nice to kick that goal for her, that’s for sure.”

Resilience has also been a feature of the respected Beech’s football journey.

The boy from Barmera was overlooked in seven drafts before being rookie-listed by Adelaide for Season 2016. He had trained with the Crows and narrowly missed out on being picked up the year prior.

Beech responded to that disappointment by playing a starring role in West Adelaide’s 2015 premiership.

His career at the Crows hasn’t been without its setbacks either.

Beech was best on ground in Adelaide’s internal trial last February, but pulled a hamstring in the fortnight leading up to the Club’s first pre-season game.

The strong-marking forward/wingman recovered to be Adelaide's most consistent contributor in the SANFL.

He was elevated to the senior list late last season, but couldn’t quite force his way into the strong-performing 22.

Beech won Adelaide’s State League Club Champion award and thanked his Mum, who battled ill health to see her son presented on stage, in his acceptance speech. Tammy passed away only weeks later.

The hard-running utility pulled on the AFL Crows jumper for the first time in the opening round of the JLT Community Series this year.

He made a promising start, scoring a goal with his first kick before being sidelined by a calf injury, which saw him miss the rest of the game and the remainder of the pre-season competition.

A travelling emergency last week, Beech’s AFL dream became a reality at long last when coach Don Pyke phoned on Wednesday.

“It was a phone call I’ve been waiting for, for a long time,” Beech said.

“Once I got the call from ‘Pykey’, I just had to lay down for 15 minutes and take it all in. Then I gave Dad a call, told the family and we all went out for dinner.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in footy since I started playing League footy for Westies. You’ve got to enjoy the ups and just get through the down times.

“I’m glad everything has paid off now. Hopefully, I can go on to have a good career at AFL level.”

Beech worked his way into the game against St Kilda, finishing with 15 possessions, four marks, four tackles and a goal.

Watching from the stands, an ‘overwhelmed’ Mick Beech said the family, including aunties and uncles who also made the trip from Barmera, “went crazy” after Jono’s last-quarter goal.

Jono said the support of his family, friends and teammates had made the occasion even more special.

“It was an awesome feeling just to run out at the start. Then to be able to have a win and contribute to the win, it was just a great team-first game from everyone,” he said.

“The boys were great out there. It makes it easier when they pass you the footy and hit you on the chest. And the way they got around me after that goal, made it even better.”

Beech’s first AFL win was celebrated in typical fashion – with a Gatorade soaking in the team song.

“I couldn’t really see for most of it – the Gatorade went straight in my eyes!” he said.

“I probably should’ve closed my eyes from the start, but I really enjoyed it and the boys loved it as well.”

Jono and father Mick, wearing a turquoise tie, embrace after Friday night's game