Local footy: Fisher Cup brings best out of Barmera and Berri


By Nick Kossatch


Bottom-placed Berri were within a straight kick from defeating ladder-leaders Barmera-Monash in a classic, physical and tough Fisher Cup round seven RFL match at Barmera Oval.


It would have been one of the great Demon wins but unfortunately for them – after being the better side most of the game – Barmera’s Brad Wilksch kicked the match-winning goal to give them a five-point win.


The match was a terrific advertisement for how football should be played.


There was some tremendous tackling and one-on-one duels and Fisher Medallist, Berri captain Peter Safralidis, stamped his authority on the game by swooping on a loose ball to boot the Demons’ first major.


The visitors’ fleet-footed midfielders and general pressure worried the Roos but they did respond to Berri’s initial onslaught with a long goal – against the trend of play – to Chris Hughes.


One of the favourites for the Whillas Medal, Dillon Millard, was not having his own way.


He started in the ruck but the burly Demon ruckman Brett Duffin provided an excellent contest at the centre bounces.


Wilksch had a chance to give his side a ‘break’ but they only led by a goal at the first change.


Kirk Harwood, Jake Langdon and Dylan Brookes were troubling Barmera but it was the tattoo-clad Hughes doing the same to Berri.


Hughes’ helped increase the Roos’ lead with a goal early in the second term but from there the visitors took control of the match.


‘Saf’ was playing like a man possessed and he set up the impressive Geordie Franks with the first of his four goals to narrow the gap to one point.


Wilksch messed up another shot at goal and when some wonderful awareness by Berri’s Michael Hill gave Franks his second major – the home side were in some trouble.


Berri did not allow any time and space in which Barmera base their game around.


They found themselves nine-points ahead at half time after some brilliant pressure on Russell Boatswain from Safralidis resulted in an easy goal to Duffin.


Brooks, who was having an excellent match for the red and blues, continued his strong-marking form in the forward lines.


A push-in-the-back free to Berri’s David Hankin led to a six-pointer to Franks and they led by 17 points. They held firm and in fact could have led by more if not for Chris Scholefield missing Duffin who was free.


Duffin failed to goal from another passage of play and the visitor’s 14-point lead should have been more at three-quarter-time.


The third stanza produced only one goal with both sides booting four points.


The last quarter saw the hosts applying fierce pressure and Duffin missed another opportunity between majors to Wilksch and Barmera skipper Ryan Villis.


The home crowd sensed their side had momentum when a Hughes goal put the Roos in front.


In the next few minutes Berri regained control.


A well-weighted kick from Brookes found Hankin and his set shot split the uprights.


The Demons led by eight points after a clever mark to Terry Bonner who then spotted Franks.


Franks then nudged his opponent under the ball, gathered it, and drilled his fourth major and it seemed a huge upset loomed.


The experienced Robert Price was awarded a free and the 39-year-old made no mistake but the next passage of play proved decisive.


Harwood brilliantly spun out of a tackle deep in Berri’s defence and he spotted Dean Beer.


Dillon Millard then superbly intercepted Beer’s kick and followed up by hitting Wilksch on the chest.


Wilksch pumped the air with his fists as the ball sailed through for the match-winning major.


Berri were not done with however.


‘Saf’ had an open shot at goal from a centre clearance but Danny Millard was there to effect contact on the ball before it crossed the goal line.


The Demons frantically rushed the ball forward again and it was marked by Brookes well over 50-metres from goal.


The final siren sounded and Brookes attempt at goal understandably fell short.


It was a remarkable finish in a game where Barmera-Monash snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.




5: Peter Safralidis (B)

4: Chris Hughes (BM)

3: Dylan Brookes (B)

2: Geordie Franks (B)

1: Dillon Millard (BM)












About Nicholas Kossatch

Tall and intelligent and athletically built who calls a spade a spade. Love sports writing and sending letters and texts to the editor about AFL and the Port Adelaide Power - win, lose or draw. I do not sit on the fence. Soon to be 40! I play basketball and over 35's supers football. Have played amateur footy and a bit of cricket and basketball when living in Adelaide. Do some writing for the Murray Pioneer,

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