THE Berry Magpies snapped a five-game losing streak and took bragging rights with a 36-14 win against local rivals Nowra-Bomaderry at Berry Showground on Saturday.
While the game certainly lacked a bit of polish, there was never a dull moment on the field, with a strong and always vocal crowd treated to some entertaining football.
It was the Magpies who drew first blood when winger Rory McCall made a break down the sideline seven minutes into the game and found Josh Coulter in support.
Coulter then put in a grubber and attempted to re-gather the kick, but was taken without the ball, leading to a penalty for the Magpies.
While the Magpies were unable to capitalise immediately, they got their first try after 10 minutes, when front rower Blaine Rosz crashed over from close range.
The Magpies early 6-nil lead looked like it might be short-lived when they knocked on from the kick restart, but their defence held strong near the line.
After getting out of jail, the Magpies looked to be in control of the game, before they learnt the hard way not to give Jets winger Mark Brandon any space.
The Magpies were within striking distance of the line before a wayward pass fell into the hands of Brandon, who in trademark fashion, stormed his way up the side and ran 80 metres to score the Jets first try.
Unfortunately Brandon did not make things easy for kicker Kurt Quinlan, who was unable to add the extras, leaving it at 6-4.
But the Jets were given little time to enjoy their first points and a knock on near their line opened the door for Josh Ingold to score the Magpies second try just two minutes later.
It went from bad to worse for the Jets, when Magpies back-rower Bryce Rutherford made some great metres from the restart, brushing off more defenders than you could count before finally being brought down.
The Jets defence couldn’t hold out for long and the Magpies soon made it 16-4 when Lloyd Sharpe crossed for their third try.
Magpies assistant coach Trent Burns surprised a few by pulling a John Farnham and making his comeback off the bench around the 30 minute mark.
But it was his opposite coach Ben Wellington who was in the thick of the action when he scored the Jets second try to make it 16-10.
Once again the Jets reprieve was short-lived and the Magpies extended their lead to 10 when winger Rory McCall crossed in the corner just minutes later.
The Magpies were given one more opportunity for points before the break when they received a penalty near their line with seconds remaining.
Just as everyone stood around scratching their heads to see if they would take the two points, Josh Coulter decided to take a quick tap and nudged his way over, right on the sound of the half-time bell to take the score to 26-10 at the break.
The Magpies effectively put the game to bed in the first 10 minutes of the second half, with two tries scored almost back-to-back.
Their first brought an almighty cheer from the crowd as Trent Burns crashed over, shortly before retreating back to the bench, muttering something along the lines of “I’m buggered.”
It was his co-coach Nathan Benney who laid the foundations for their next try, with a barnstorming break up the sideline, before finding support from Brent Marando, who ran the rest of the way to score.
After an exciting start, the last half hour of the game never scaled any great heights and was largely overshadowed by dropped ball and errors from both ends.
The Jets never gave in and while they did get one consolation try when Nathan Falzon crossed after 70 minutes, the Magpies had already done the damage.
Blaine Rosz, Josh Coulter, Bryce Rutherford and Nathan Benney were all standouts for the Magpies, while Ben Wellington, Ryan James and Zac Kershaw never gave up for the Jets.