Berry Magpies finals hopes hanging by a thread

UNLIKELY, but not impossible is how Berry Magpies coach Nathan Benney rates his side’s chances of making the semi finals.

Mathematically they can still do it, but even if they win their two remaining games, they would need other results to go their way.

Kiama are widely expected to beat Port Kembla this weekend, which will officially end any chance the Magpies have of sneaking into the five, but until that happens, Benney is refusing to say die.

They have had four convincing losses on the trot, but if there is one team who can make them bring their best, surely it is their local rivals the Nowra-Bomaderry Jets.

Benney admitted losing their near basically must-win clash to Jamberoo is certainly not what they had hoped for, but said anything is possible.

“Whenever there is even a little bit of hope, you can’t give up that easily,” Benney said.

“We’ve got to keep putting in and get the results and then you never know, maybe the footy gods can give us a bit of help,” he added.

Benney has little doubt about his players’ ability to lift for the local derby with the Jets, but his main concern is with some of the technical areas where they have been struggling.

“One of our biggest issues is that we haven’t been winning the ruck,” he said.

“Other side’s have been making big metres and getting a bit of a roll on. Then we’re not getting a quick play the ball, we’re getting put on our backs easily.

“It might seem simple, but I honestly think it’s been our biggest problem.”

The Magpies have conceded more than 200 points in their past four games, which Benney admitted is way too many to expect to still win games.

COMEBACK KID: Blake Dryden made his return from injury for the Berry Magpies last week and will be hoping for a big game against the Nowra-Bomaderry Jets on Saturday. Photo: PATRICK FAHY

COMEBACK KID: Blake Dryden made his return from injury for the Berry Magpies last week and will be hoping for a big game against the Nowra-Bomaderry Jets on Saturday. Photo: PATRICK FAHY

With the Jets boasting the competition’s top two leading try-scorers in Mark Brandon and his brother Steve, it is fair to say they have not struggled to score points this season.

“They’ve got some good backs who have scored plenty of tries this season and we need to control the field, or they’ll be adding to their tallies,” Benney said.

“But a week is a long time in football and I think things can really turnaround.

“It’s about having a positive mindset and believing we can still do it.

“If we can win these last two games, anything is possible.”

Regardless of whether it keeps their slim finals chances alive, Benney said it would be great if they could knock off the Jets for the second time this season and is looking forward to coming up against their rivals once again.

“They are hard to beat at Nowra, especially in front of a vocal crowd,” he said.

“To beat them in a night game, in front of their home crowd would bring me great pleasure…. I would have a big smile on my face, that’s for sure.”

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