Improving Redeyes overturn Saints’ defeat to retain crucial top five spot

BLIGHTY kept its Picola South-East finals dreams alive with a workmanlike 34-point victory over Berrigan at Blighty on Saturday.

The Redeyes have now reversed first round losses against both the Saints and Tocumwal, and coach Rob Wren hoped it was a sign of things to come.

“It wasn’t a great game to look at, but it was tight and well contested and we got the job done, which is what we hoped to do,” he said.

“We didn’t beat Tocumwal or Berrigan in the first rounds but beating them both now hopefully means we’re moving in the right direction.

“It was important for us to get those — we’d played reasonable footy but were a bit hot and cold in the first half and only registered three wins.

“These don’t guarantee us finals but they help — we’re hanging on to fifth and our destiny’s in our own hands.”

The clash was a hotly contested one-on-one game.

“Both sides tried to shut it down as much as we could which seemed to work in our favour,” Wren said.

The only disappointment was the Redeyes’ efficiency, with plenty of chances going begging.

“A lot of those points were easy shots too,” Wren said.

“A lot of that was to do with pressure though from both sides.

“But I was very pleased we were able to keep them to four goals — at the end of day I was happy with the win and the way we went about it.”

Berrigan missed its own chances, booting 1.5 in the first half.

Wren said it was a consistent performance from his entire playing group.

Mick Madden found his feet in his third game back, kicking three goals and working hard defensively.

Judd Barnes was influential on the wing and Brett Clarke made a welcome return in his first game for the year.

“We’ve got two or three of our better onballers out injured so it was handy to have Clarke back through the middle for us,” Wren said.

“We’ve got Brad Robson hopefully back in two weeks and more in the coming weeks — they’re quality players and (injuries) have been testing our depth.

“Hopefully we’ll be getting a few back on deck and continuing to improve.”

Chris Patten and Brock Gray were Berrigan’s best.

Strathmerton inflicted reigning premier Jerilderie’s first defeat with a 13-point win at Strathmerton, Tocumwal smashed Deniliquin Rovers by 186 points and Picola United edged Yarroweyah by 13 points.