South Coast Group 7 - Gerringong Lions v Berry Magpies, Michael Cronin Oval, Saturday 2.45pm
FINALS footy may be off the table for the Berry Magpies, but they will have no trouble finding motivation for this week’s clash with the Gerringong Lions at Michael Cronin Oval.
The Magpies' slim finals chances ended last week with a narrow 24-22 loss to Kiama and they now have their eyes set on upsetting their local rivals.
Rather than dwell on their loss, Magpies coach Ted Bowley said his players were already talking about playing Gerringong in the sheds after the Kiama game.
“That was pleasant to see them already talking about it without me having to prompt them,” Bowley said.
“We still want to finish as high as possible and if it’s not fifth, maybe it can be sixth,” he added.
Despite their loss, Bowley said he was not disappointed by their performance against Kiama.
“I thought it was a really strong, physical game of footy across the board.
“I don’t think either team could have walked away from it and say they were disappointed.”
The Magpies had their chances in a game where the momentum changed a number of times, but in the end, they were not quite capable of pulling it off.
While this was the loss that officially put them out of contention for the semi-finals, the damage had already been done.
“In all honesty, that’s not a game we’re going to look back on and say it cost us making the finals,” Bowley said.
“We can’t sit back now and gripe about things when we lost games against Port Kembla and Albion Park,” he added.
Historically, there has always been a strong rivalry between Gerrinong and Berry and Bowley said they were excited to be playing them this week.
“There’s been a great rivalry there for as long as I can remember and hopefully long into the future,” he said.
“I’ve got a lot of time for them.
“I actually played for both clubs and it was always one of those games you would look forward to.”
The Lions are sitting on top of the table and playing them on their home turf is arguably the toughest game in the competition, but Bowley is confident his team can rise to the challenge.
“It always seems to be that regardless of either team’s position on the table, they both lift,” he said.
The Lions do not need any more motivation either after their 10-win game winning streak was brought to an end by the Warilla Gorillas.
“I’d been saying for a while that they were due to be beaten, it’s just a shame they couldn’t have waited another week,” Bowley laughed.
Bowley was confident they could give a good account of themselves against the top of the table Lions and said it should be a great game of football.