Scott Berry stood out at the Collegian Warriors like a new golf ball on a driving range – a high performer in a team who struggled badly.
When the short-lived Warriors experiment ended in the off-season after the club folded, several of the players arrived at Werris Creek, Berry included.
The slightly built No.7 and two other ex-Collegian players, Brad Vidler and Jermain Walford-Doyle, were among the tryscorers in the Magpies’ 28-20 home win over Boggabri on the weekend. It was the Magpies’ second win of the season, while the Kangaroos remain winless.
Berry, 21, can sympathise with Boggabri’s plight, given the Warriors’ protracted travail. But despite the lop-sided scorelines, he remembers his time at the club fondly.
“It was tough. But it was always gonna be tough,” he said. “When you start to build something it’s always gonna take time. Good people around it make it special. So, that’s all that matters.”
Berry, five-eighth for the Greater Northern Tigers under-23 side last season, said he had a “couple of offers” following Collegian’s demise.
“But I play football for the enjoyment of playing football. I love it,” he said. “I’m not here playing football to make money off football.”
Berry said a “massive motivation” for him joining Werris Creek was the club snaring ex-NRL star Matt Parsons as co-coach this season. He wanted to learn from the former Country rep and premiership-winning player with the Knights. He's an eager student of the game. And he wants to continually improve as a footballer.
“He’s [Parsons] got a lot of experience. His football IQ is really good,” Berry said.
Boggabri opened the scoring on Saturday when lively No.1 Kialu Brown found winger Nick Hobden with a lovely floated pass. Hobden crossed unhindered in the right-hand corner.
But Werris Creek dominated the rest of the half, beginning when prop Tom Brown scored next the left upright at full stretch, and ending with Walford-Doyle crosssing under the posts. Harlee Millgate’s conversion made at 26-4 at halftime.
As the scoreline suggests, the main narrative of the second half was the Roos’ revival from a first half in which they made a slew of handling errors.
Kialu Brown, the man of the match, kick-started the comeback with a break early in the half. He was brought down close to the tryline, and centre Jayde Campbell then crossed.
Two tries to Boggabri back-rower Nathan Miller made it interesting, but you sensed time would beat the Roos.