BERRY Shoalhaven Heads’s chances of beating Port Kembla in its Group Seven Rugby League match was indicated by a piece of paper.
The team that took to the field for Berry on Saturday and the one the selectors named before the match were vastly different.
With the likes of Josh Coulter and Jarrod Schodde out, the Magpies at the Berry Showground was under strength against Port and suffered 32-12 loss.
Berry, as is always the case, produced a spirited effort and pushed the big and physical Port side for most of the match.
The Magpies started the stronger of the two teams and at one stage held a 8-nil lead thanks to unconverted tries to centre Harley Grundy and replacement fullback Blygh Herron.
Herron’s effort was a great one and he soared above the opposition, took an Australian Football like mark and then was able to ground the ball.
Berry’s second try stung Port into action and its mentor Jimmy Storer started to take control at hooker and made many sizzling darts from dummy half which put Berry on the backfoot.
Before Berry could adjust they were behind 16-8 which was the score at halftime.
Port, in the second half, basically ground its way to victory and got the much needed two points.
Berry battled on right to the end and even scored the last try of the game.
The late try to Lachlan Dresser and a comment from the sideline showed the Magpies not only are a team of fighters but its supporters have a sense of humour.
“Last try wins,” was the call from the sideline when Dresser scored.
The Port mentor is not getting carried away with the win but thinks the signs are positive.
“Every week we beat ourselves and that is all there is to it but this here (against Berry) we held our composure, completed out sets and started to roll on,” Storer said.
“It’s a big win and we are starting to play as a team again and we are getting better.”
The Port coach said they would not be getting carried away with the win.
“One sunny day does not make a summer - does it,” he said.
Storer said Port’s interchange bench played a vital role in the win and made an impact when they came on.
The sharp form of five-eighth Josh Ingold, another tradesman like effort from hooker Blake Dryden and a strong effort up front from prop Andrew Cowhan were the pleasing aspects for Berry.
Back rower Will Homer, Storer, half Mark Simon and winger Jo Maivileko, who scored two tries, were best for Port.