The Picola & District Football League season is all over for the Redeyes, after Berrigan stormed to a 44-point win on Sunday.August 19, 2014 3:50am
Blighty’s Brad Robson (left) offers support as his teammate Tristan Wilson is tackled by Berrigan’s Harley Middleton
Blighty’s season is over after a classy Berrigan outfit ran over the top of the Redeyes in the Picola & District Football League elimination final on Sunday.
The do-or-die clash, played at Deniliquin’s Memorial Park, was a stepping stone for the Saints who now face Tocumwal in a cut-throat first semi-final.
The Redeyes were severely undermanned without the aid of running players Ryan Chadderton, Brett Clarke, Jarrod Wilson, Simon Maher and Brett Napier, although coach Rob Wren said that was no excuse.
‘‘We have had injuries all season and it’s really no excuse,’’ Wren said.
‘‘We had another five or six out on Sunday and they were those running midfield type of players.
‘‘It certainly impacted our depth but full credit to Berrigan because they attacked the game a lot better than us.’’
Final score: Berrigan 15.13 (103) def. Blighty 9.5 (59).
Berrigan started the game off stronger than its rivals, with early goals to James Larter, Harley Middleton and Matthew Heazlewood.
Blighty co-captain Kyel Bain middled his side’s only major in the first quarter.
The second term was more of an arm-wrestle with both sides registering four goals.
Star goalkicker Brody Lumber was well held by Berrigan’s Andrew Pyle and couldn’t quite work his way into the game, but Brad Todd stood up to boot two second-quarter goals.
Fellow big man Jake Plattfuss chipped in with one as did wingman Judd Barnes, who was kept relatively quiet in the second half by veteran Saint Adam Fox.
Berrigan smooth mover Jack Mynard and 38 year-old ex-AFL player Justin Crawford combined for four goals before half-time.
Crawford proved he still has plenty of skill and smarts, finishing with three goals for the match - one of them a set shot from the boundary and another dribbling along the ground on a similarly tight angle.
During the long break Wren stressed to his charges to try and keep the game in tight, forcing ball-ups and stoppages.
But the Saints were still able to break the game open and when they did, their skill and pace was too much for the Redeyes to handle.
Blighty could only muster four more goals for the match whereas the Saints kicked three in the third and five in the last.
Middleton, one of the Saints’ star teenagers, dominated in the midfield before sneaking up forward to ice the match with two final-quarter goals.
Other key performers for Berrigan included Kyle Russell, Lochie Schifferle and former Deni Ram Matt Cameron.
Bain and Robbie Pyle were Blighty’s best players, while teenager Jack Bradford was a standout on the wing and hard-nut Sam Singleton toiled away in the middle.
The most likely of Blighty’s forwards was assistant coach Todd, who finished with four goals for the match.
Blighty coach Rob Wren has confirmed he won’t be in charge of the Redeyes in 2015.
The country footyball stalwart told the Pastoral Times yesterday that he will be too busy with work to coach for a third season.
‘‘I’ve indicated to the club that I won’t be there next year,’’ Wren said.
‘‘I’ve bought a bigger farm a bit closer to Deniliquin and I’ll be too busy to fit coaching in as well.
‘‘The club’s been on the front foot looking for someone else to take over, but they haven’t made any announcement just yet.’’
Wren, a former Tungamah premiership coach, joined Blighty in a non-playing capacity after the 2012 season.
He steered the Redeyes to a preliminary final in 2013 and to the elimination final this year
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