Near enough is not good enough for the Berry Magpies

SHOT AT REDEMPTION: Berry Magpies forwards Jackson Bramley and Blaine Rosz will back up against Shellharbour on Saturday after a tough contest with Warilla last week. Photo: GILLIAN LETT

SHOT AT REDEMPTION: Berry Magpies forwards Jackson Bramley and Blaine Rosz will back up against Shellharbour on Saturday after a tough contest with Warilla last week. Photo: GILLIAN LETT

WHETHER you lose by six points or by 66, at the end of the season it still goes down as a loss.

As it happens, the Berry Magpies only lost by six points to the top of the table Warilla-Lake South Gorillas last week, but the margin is of little comfort for their coach Nathan Benney.

“I was still happy with the efforts of all the guys, but I think our attitude and overall mentality needs to change,” Benney said.

“A lot of people, spectators and players will say it was great that we almost beat them [Warilla], but in my eyes, almost is not good enough,” he added.

The Magpies were downed 24-18 by the Gorillas in a game Benney believes they could have won if they had been more disciplined.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit after half-time,” he said.

“There was a high turnover of the ball, too many incomplete sets and they went in for two or three tries in that time.

“We did come back, but you can’t give a side them that many opportunities and still expect to win the game.”

Benney himself was sin-binned late in the game, which saw them lose a bit of momentum and it is the things like this he knows they cannot afford to do if they are going to take the points off Shellharbour on Saturday.

The Sharks have been good without setting the world on fire since making their return to Group 7, but Benney feels they will definitely be one of the teams to beat.

“There’s no doubt they’ve got some very strong individual players, but from what’s being fed back to me, they haven’t quite gelled yet,” he said.

“But I’d still say they’re one of the teams to beat and once they get it together, they will be even harder [to beat],” he added.

With the Magpies having such a young side, a lot of their squad have never played against Shellharbour at senior level, so they are still a bit of an unknown.

Benney said they are looking forward to the game, not because they get the chance to play them for the first time, but because it is another opportunity to test themselves against a strong side.

“After the last couple of losses, I think we know we’re close to a win and I see this as another shot at redemption,” he said.

“We’re still trying to prove ourselves and to beat one of the top teams would give us plenty of confidence,” he added.

The Sharks boast a couple of former NRL players in Bronx Goodwin and Craig Stapleton and while Benney said they are aware of them, they are trying to stay focused on their own game.

“Bronx Goodwin is probably one you need to watch, but to be honest, we need to focus on what we can control.

“We can’t spend time worrying about certain players just because they’ve played in the NRL.

“I know I probably say this every week, but what we really need to do is play a good 80 minutes of football and the results will come.”

The Magpies will be boosted by the return of co-captain Lloyd Sharpe from suspension, while fullback Josh Coulter is in line to come back from injury.

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