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By David Nagel

SOUTH EAST FOOTBALL NETBALL LEAGUE
REVIEW – ROUND 12

Make a mistake and they’ll kill you!
It took just 14 seconds of the cleanest most clinical strike of the season to underline why Berwick is the team to beat for this year’s South East Football Netball League crown.
At the 15-minute mark of the first term, Narre Warren ruckman Trent Papworth had a shot for goal to give the Magpies the opening two majors of the match and the perfect start in their toughest assignment of the season.
An early goal to Dale Gawley had the Magpies up and about, and their ability to absorb Berwick’s pressure gave a real sense of optimism heading into the middle stages of the first term. Relentless pressure saw Papworth presented with a golden opportunity -albeit on his wrong foot – to apply some scoreboard pressure to the ladder leaders.
He missed and – just like a stalking cheetah – the Wickers went BANG!
A 65-metre kick-out from Ash Smith cleared an assembled pack, the ball fell into the hands of Lucas Jellyman-Turner, who fired off the handball to a surging Reece Piper, who gathered cleanly in the centre circle and took off, taking 10 steps before unloading a bomb that sailed straight over the goal-umpire’s head.
A scintillating 14 seconds of footy that had to be seen to be believed.
Narre Warren champion Nick Scanlon answered with a brilliant soccer-goal of his own … before the Wickers struck again.
A contested ball on Narre Warren’s half-forward line spilled to Berwick youngster Will Arthurson, who dished off to Trent Thomas, who handballed to Smith who spotted a one-on-one battle in front of the new electronic scoreboard at Edwin Flack Reserve.
Jimmy Magner versus Jace Kelly, Magner holds Kelly off with his left hand, juggles the ball in his right before kicking to Andrew Morozoff who marks strongly at the top of the goal square.
Two passages of play, from one end of the ground to the other, without the opposition touching the ball – it sums up the Wickers to a tee.
It wasn’t always that pretty, but the Wickers showed some very impressive signs in their 49-point victory over the Magpies on Saturday.
Their elite midfield was in devastating form, with Bryce Rutherford and the merging Jimmy Harrison joining Magner, Smith and Madi Andrews in a quality quintet.
The ‘Magic Michaels’ down back – Johnson and Riseley – did their thing, while the pace of Piper and the grunt work of Morozoff proved too much for the Magpies to handle.
The Wickers stretched a nine-point lead at quarter time to 31 by the main break before a 5.1 to 1.3 third-quarter kicked the margin to 53 points.
The Magpies showed character to win the final term – but the damage had been well and truly done.
The Magpies’ seven goals all came from individuals, with Papworth solid despite that early miss and regular forward Aaron Wilson enjoying some time at half back and wing.
For Michael Collins, his 250th game didn’t end as intended but the champ showed enough to suggest the 300-game milestone is not outside his reach.
However one thing may be outside his reach – and that’s Berwick. Make a mistake and they’ll kill you!

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