Illawarra League: Eagles look to banish demons against competition leaders

TIME TO SHINE: Berkeley hooker Matt Boss (right) says it's a case of now or never if the Eagles want to play finals football this season. Picture: Sylvia Liber

TIME TO SHINE: Berkeley hooker Matt Boss (right) says it's a case of now or never if the Eagles want to play finals football this season. Picture: Sylvia Liber

THEY’E had the ‘big four’ looking over their shoulder this season but Berkeley hooker Matt Boss says his side needs to start converting their gritty efforts into wins if they want to feature in the post-season.

The Eagles went desperately close to wins against Thirroul, Dapto and Collegians over the opening round of the season only to be edged out on all three occasions.

Against the Butchers, who they’ll face at Gibson Park this weekend, Aaron McDonald’s men led 8-4 at halftime only to concede four tries in the final 20 minutes to go down 38-8. Boss admits it’s one defeat that particularly stings 

“It was more the way it happened,” Boss said.

“It felt like it was pretty even and then, for them to score four or five tries late, was really disappointing.

“They’ve been one of the tougher teams we’ve played this year, very physical. They’re winning the comp so obviously they’ve been doing that to other teams.

“We played well for 60 minutes against them so it gives us a lot of confidence going into this weekend.” 

Confidence ahead of an away clash against the competition leaders is a new feeling for the Eagles, but Boss said it’s time to take that next step.

“The last few years have been so tough it’s really good to see us be competitive but still frustrating the way we’ve lost a couple of games,” Boss said.

“We’ve got a habit of playing really good for 60 [minutes] and then for 20 minutes we go back to some old habits from last year.

“I think our defence is a lot better than what it has been in previous years so we’re keeping ourselves in games, even if our attack is stuttering a bit at times.

“This weekend’s exciting, it’s what you play footy for these type of chances so hopefully we can go out and give it a red-hot crack.”

Sitting just one win outside the top four, the Eagles face each of the current top four sides in succession to close the season, putting a finals berth well within reach.

“We know where we’re at and what we need to do,” Boss said.

“We probably have to win at least three of our last four.  If we can get a win against Thirroul then have the [bye] to get all the bodies right we can ramp up for the last three games.

“It’s going to be tough but we don’t deserve to play semis if we can’t beat these sides now.” 

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