Benney positive despite last week’s shellacking

IN FORM: Berry Magpies are hoping to front their best side this Sunday against traditional rivals, Gerringong Lions.

IN FORM: Berry Magpies are hoping to front their best side this Sunday against traditional rivals, Gerringong Lions.

POSITIVE, that is how to sum up Berry Shoalhaven Heads coach Nathan Benney.

The Magpies, on Sunday, face one of the toughest roads trips in Group 7 Rugby League - taking on the powerful Gerringong Lions at home.

However, Benney said despite their current injury crisis, particularly in the forwards, they would be striving hard to beat the Lions.

“I would say for the last 10 weeks we have been under strength in the forwards and on Sunday we have six forwards unavailable,” he said.

The Magpies might have some forwards out but two backs will make welcome comebacks on Sunday.

Strike centre Lloyd Sharpe and winger Brent Marando will both return after a few weeks on sideline.

The forwards crisis meant that some backs have been switched into the forwards and have been doing a good job.

However, the Berry mentor will not be tempted to move either Sharpe or Marando in the pack as he needs strike-power out wide.

Injuries mean that reserve grade and under 18s players have to be used in first grade.

This could create some disharmony within a club but Benney said the Magpies were a united force and many players were prepared to help out when needed.

He has been particularly impressed with the under 18s.

“I would say at least 10 under 18s players, coming off the bench, have made their first grade debuts this season,” he said.

Benney said with so much talent coming up through the ranks the future of the Magpies looked sound.

Meanwhile, Berry and the Lions go into Sunday’s match after two vastly conflicting results.

Berry suffered a 52-4 loss to Warilla-Lake South, while the Lions smashed the Nowra-Bomaderry Jets 54-18.

Benney does not know if the Lions will be at full strength on Sunday.

What he does know is that Gerringong is always hard to beat at home.

The positive Berry mentor said his team could still grab a spot in the semi-final series.

“If we string a few wins together you just don’t know what will happen,” he said.

Unfortunately he does not expect to have fresh interchange players to use on Sunday as once again they will have to back up.

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