PYLE PLAYS 250TH
Saturday marked a special occasion for Berrigan stalwart Stu Pyle, with the veteran defender running out for his 250th senior game for the club.
The 40 year-old has spent his whole footballing life at the Saints, starting with the fourths in 1988.
The 185.4cm (6’1’’) tall defender made his senior debut in 1995, playing for the Saints in the Murray League before Berrigan joined the Picola & District League in 2003.
Over his time the farmer hasn’t won any individual awards or premierships, his closest achievement being a part of Berrigan’s 2009 runner-up side and just missing selection for the 2011 premiership winning team.
Pyle has notched up a total of 460 club games over his time, content to continue playing in the reserves now that he has reached his milestone.
‘‘Saturday was my last game in the seniors,’’ he said.
‘‘My brain says I can play seniors but my body isn’t willing anymore.
‘‘It was nice of the boys to have me move up forward in the last quarter and when I kicked a goal they all got around me.
‘‘I want to try and reach 150 reserves games next. I’ve played about 130 for the ‘twos’ so it isn’t too far away.
‘‘I played in the preliminary final in 2011 but was dropped for the decider,’’ he said.
‘‘That’s just the way it goes unfortunately but I was so happy for the team and the club as a whole.’’
Throughout his career Pyle has battled through multiple injuries, including calf, shoulder and a serious back injury.
‘‘Surprisingly my favourite year of footy was our last year in the Murray League, where we had no reserves side and didn’t win.
‘‘We were getting beaten by 20 goals nearly every week but everyone playing was there to just play and enjoy their footy.
‘‘I’ve also been lucky enough to play alongside my son Lachy in about 30 games.’’
Pyle has had a big influence not just on the field but off of it as well, putting his hand up to be on the club’s general committee at the age of 18.
He has stayed on board as a committee member since, becoming the vice president three years ago with his wife Arlena the club’s secretary.
‘‘I like keeping my finger on the pulse and just want to help out the club as much as I can,’’ he said.
‘‘Arlena’s father Viv McGee was president of the club and then took the top job of the Murray League.
‘‘I think that because of this we’ve both felt it’s important to help out around the club off the field as well.
‘‘I’ve got my son Darcy playing in the fourths and daughter Lucy playing Under 11s netball so it’s good to have the family involved.
‘‘I enjoy umpiring the fourths footy and love working behind the bar at the club.
‘‘I just love the footy club in general and am glad to be a part of it.’’
~ Berrigan match report on page 21
Berrigan bounced back to form to score a handy 107 point win over Mathoura at Berrigan Sportsground on Saturday.
The Saints did not allow the Timbercutters to score a goal until the last quarter in a solid defensive display, led by the enforcing Trent Osborn, in the round 16 Picola & District League season.
Berrigan had it all their own way out of the centre which was boosted by the return of the skilful Tom Beams.
Together with the usual suspects in Angus Coldwell and Mark McQualter at the feet of big Phil Murrowood, the Saints were able to send the ball forward regularly with Harley Middleton the lucky beneficiary of all the hard work, booting six majors.
It was a joyous occasion with one of Berrigan’s favourites in Stu Pyle playing his 250th senior game for the Saints.
After recently playing reserves he thought he should probably reignite his seniors career and tick the milestone off his bucket list and he did it in fine style.
Final score, Berrigan 18.17 (125) to Mathoura 2.6 (18).
Berrigan’s reserves got back on the winner’s list with a flurry of goals and points equating to a 94 point win by the final siren.
Tyson Marett was the main culprit up forward booting five in a career high while George Stevenson was devastating from a back flank.
Adam Fox was again busy while Zach Taylor Nugent had highlight of the day with an Eddie Betts-like goal from the boundary.
Joel Harrison returned from injury and kicked a couple of handy goals just before junk time and Nathan Magill went about his business just as majestically as the week before.
Final score, Berrigan 15.17 (107) to Mathoura 2.1 (13).
It was a tough day for the fourths, going down to the Timbercutters by 78 points.
Despite the loss there was plenty to like for the Saints with their pressure causing Mathoura to kick inaccurately in front of goal.
Although the Saints struggled to get the footy forward, they pressured and harassed their hearts out.
Hamish Cameron weasled his way to the best players as he got plenty of the pill and used it well.
Matt Whelan was again classy around the ground and Darcy Pyle defended almost as good as his old man.
Harrison Lappin, Caleb Thornton and Xavier Fox were dangerous all day as they lurked the defensive 50.
Final score, Mathoura 10.19 (79) to Berrigan 0.1 (1).
RIGHT: Stu Pyle being chaired off the ground by Phil Murrowood (left) and Grant Martin following Berrigan’s 107 point win over Mathoura on Saturday.
RIGHT: Tom Beams just keeps the ball in with a run along the boundary line.