Riverland FL – First Semi-final: Berri v Loxton North

BERRI V LOXTON NORTH RFL – 1st Semi Final 2012, Sun 2nd Sept

By Nick Kossatch at Barmera Oval

Loxton North kept its back-to-back premiership chances alive with a sensational 16-point upset win against Berri in RFL 1st Semi Final at Barmera Oval on Sunday. North face Waikerie in next Saturday’s preliminary final.

The warm weather did not phase the fleet-footed Panthers and it kicked the first three goals as the team showcased its running brand of football. Two of those six-pointers came from its tall key forwards Blake Milich and Justin Proud, who both booted left foot majors. The Panthers linked well with runners Michael Scott, Ryan Proud in particular and half backs Josh Nelson and Ben Walter were superb. The Demons steadied as on ballers Adam Beauchamp, Peter Safralidis and Nathan Geyer began winning their fair share of possessions. Half back Ryan Porter continued his stellar season with his class and poise as Geyer spotted Lachlan Jennings that got Berri to within a kick at quarter time.

North’s Justin Proud was having a terrific tussle with Demon centre half back Steven Raeder. Raeder took a brilliant mark in a one-on-one contest against him but the rangy Panther number 10 got one back on Raeder by helping set up the hard-working Tim Pannell for a goal. Both teams traded goals for the quarter which was highlighted by Justin Proud’s sidestep that culminated with a soaring Milich mark and resultant goal. David Hankin gave great mate Jennings his second goal before a Jennings centre clearance returned Hankin the favour but last year’s premiers were three-points in front at half time after Justin Proud nudged Raeder under the ball and used the space in front of him to kick his second goal.

The third term belonged to the dynamic Ryan Proud. His gut-running was a treat and he burst the game open with three goals. Scott scorched off half back to half forward and drove the ball deep into attack for Ryan Proud to skirt at the back of the pack for an open goal that put his team 18 points clear. Daniel Proud was having an impact in just his second game for the year. Although lacking some fitness, his football smarts were magnificent. He combined with Jamie Ferguson to get Milich on the lead and his third goal. Ferguson was another who rose to the occasion in North’s five goal term.

Berri outscored North in the last quarter to get within two goals with a pair of Hankin goals but a spectacular Ryan Proud grab and fifth goal ended Berri’s season. Waikerie start as favourites next weekend but Loxton North’s leg speed could worry the Magpies.

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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