South Coast Group 7
Berry Magpies 42
Batemans Bay Tigers22
THE Berry Magpies ended their disappointing season on a positive note, with a come from behind 42-22 win over the Batemans Bay Tigers.
It was also a fitting end for Magpies stalwart Trent Burns, who got the chance to retire on a winning note in front of his home crowd.
With the Tigers forfeiting in the two earlier matches, there was only a fairly small crowd, but those who were there made their presence felt, particularly the Magpies reserve grade team on the sideline.
On the whole, it was a fairly scrappy game from both sides, with a lot of errors, penalties and kicks failing to find touch, but in the middle of it all there was still some entertaining passages of football.
Almost all the points in the game came off the back of a mistake and that started when a Batemans Bay winger put his foot over the sideline after receiving the ball from the kick off.
Barely a minute had passed when Magpies halfback Joe Rogers found his way through the Tigers to score the opening try.
They were looking good to extend their lead in their next set when Josh Coulter found some space, but when trying to get a kick away, his boot found the air instead of the ball.
Tigers fullback Michael Tadich pounced on the loose ball and ran straight through the defence, to score an 80-metre solo try to square it up at 6-all.
The Tigers doubled their lead after 20 minutes, after several penalties against the Magpies took their toll and Chris Wheatley scored in the corner.
Then the Tigers started to give away their share of penalties and the Magpies capitalised, when Josh Coulter was too slippery for the defenders close to the line and it was level again at 12-all.
The Tigers looked to be on the ropes when they were forced back into their in-goal a few minutes later, but an awkward drop out bounced right into the waiting arms of Jake Clarke, who caught the Magpies napping, to run through and score and give the Tigers a 16-12 lead at half-time.
While the Tigers held a slight advantage on the scoreboard, neither team was really able to take control in the first-half and there was a sense it could go either way.
The Tigers drew first blood early in the second half, when five-eighth Adam Rutley found his way over the line and they looked in a good position at 22-12.
But that was where it all went pear-shaped for the Tigers as the Magpies finally started to come into their own.
The Magpies hit back when Coulter scored his second and they levelled it up again when Nathan Benney went in under the posts.
They hit the lead again when Blake Dryden made the most of a scoot from dummy half and went on to score next to the post.
It looked all wrapped up with 10 minutes remaining when Lloyd Sharpe broke free to score under the posts and give them a 34-22 lead.
But the Magpies were not done yet and Sharpe found himself a double in the left-hand corner a few minutes later.
There was a call from the Magpies fans and reserve grade players on the sideline to ‘give Burnsy a kick’ and sure enough, the lock forward was soon lining up his conversion from the sideline.
While his old school, toe-punting attempt didn’t quite have the legs, it wasn’t a bad effort, in fact he even got another crack when they managed to score one more try on the bell.
This time from the right hand side, his kick looked even more promising, but just shaved the posts and the score stayed at 42-22.
Burns played well in his final game and had some good support in the forwards from Nathan Benney and Blake Dryden, while Josh Coulter was always a handful for the Tigers defenders.
Tigers skipper Grant Roberts was the standout for his side, while Scott Kalsbeek and Jake Clarke also played good games.