Southern Riverina news

Berrigan progresses

- By Nick Arnold

It was a gift from the heavens when the Berrigan Reserves were granted the opportunit­y to play on their home turf for the first final of the year.

The side was up and about very early in the rooms, with the finals spirit running through the veins of the mighty Saints.

After a terrific speech from veteran Adam Fox, the boys were ready to go.

Following coach Damon Ferguson’s game plan of coming out strong and hard in the first quarter, the Saints got out to an early lead against the Deniliqun Rovers.

Different from the Saints’ normal games, the form didn’t drop one bit.

With pure determinat­ion for a finals win, all players old and young elevated their games to the next level.

Fraser Haintz showed that no injury is enough to hold him back. With a stat sheet filled game, he was ecstatic to be back playing footy, especially in the finals.

Haintz seemed almost targeted by the Deniliquin Rovers side, but that didn’t deter him one bit.

He was gathering ground ball after ground ball and using his extreme courage to run back with the flight of the footy, and jump blindly into marking contests with eyes only for the footy.

Max Cameron was tasked with a massive role of playing on Deni’s top scorer and did a tremendous job.

Taking on tips from other players, Cameron was able to completely shut down his opponent.

He intelligen­tly played off his man to keep him from body on body contact in a marking contest, which allowed Cameron to swiftly spoil the mark in the last second.

Alex Park proves to be an opposing wingman’s nightmare, with his constant run proving a problem for Deniliquin.

Park always seems to find space and time, not to mention being as tough as they come.

He continuall­y provides play from the backline all the way to the forward line, delighting his Berrigan Saints teammates with a terrific work rate. The Saints were able to hold off the Rovers’ last quarter rally. The Berrigan boys ended with a win, earning a week off as they eagerly watch to see who they will come up against in two weeks’ time.

Final score: Berrigan 7.3 (45) def Deni Rovers 5.7 (37).

A cold morning at Jerilderie didn’t deter the young Saints fourths from putting on their best performanc­e on Saturday.

Facing off against Waaia, the Saints were up and about early kicking goals left and right - anchored by a formidable defensive structure.

The young Saints continue to play with a maturity above their actual ages, using AFL worthy passages of play in a corridor heavy ball movement system to give a quick line from backline to forward line.

Superstar Jordan Swan was back after a long line of injuries and NSW representa­tive football, and put in a jaw dropping 12 goal performanc­e. Swan always seems to have time and uses his superior vision to stay poised, even in the most pressure heavy moments.

Zavier Binns rose to the finals footy occasion with three goals of his own.

It was his best game all year, creating opportunit­ies for him through perfect leading patterns and continued determinat­ion. Tom Baxter played the back flank position to perfection.

Baxter reads the play at an extremely high level, using this ability to his advantage.

You can always be sure to see him standing a kick behind play, always ready to grab the ball and send it back the Saints’ way.

Hudson Ware proved once again to be a team player, putting his body on the line for the greater good of his teammates.

Ware also took a goal of the year level mark. Using just one hand, he reached into the sky and plucked the barrelling footy out of the air worthy of a replay on The Footy Show.

The Saints ended the game with 96-point win, taking them into the next round of the finals.

Final score: Berrigan 16.13 (109) def Waaia 1.7 (13).

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