Southern Riverina news - - SPORT -

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).

Photo cour­tesy Ar­lena Pyle.

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.

Photo cour­tesy Ar­lena Pyle.

RIGHT: Tom Beams just keeps the ball in with a run along the bound­ary line.

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