The Bonnyrigg White Eagles asserted themselves as genuine championship contenders and were presented with the silverware for dominating the NSW Premier League in the 22 round regular season.

Daniel Severino grabbed a double in a historic afternoon for the club, which also welcomed back Phillip Zabaks from a serious head injury.

Despite suffering a humiliating 5-1 defeat at the hands of South Coast last week, the Berries looked anything like a team struggling for form in the opening 15’ minutes.

The premiers were on the defensive in the early stages, but when Iain King was penalised for a hand ball in the box right on 20’ minutes, the White Eagles were gifted with the first goal of the afternoon.

Severino, the man who whipped in the free-kick which produced the hand ball, stepped up to the spot and nailed his shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Brad Boardman and Jamie McMaster soon combined up front but Tsioutsas was able to deny the home-side’s attacking raid.

Bonnyrigg grew an extra leg after the opening goal and should have doubled their lead after a goal mouth scramble on the half hour mark, but Mark Bariamas’ desperate effort on the line denied Nathan Elasi.

George Lagoudakis tried his luck from long-range only to have his shot intercepted by team mate Glen Trifiro inside the penalty area. But the number 26’s flick towards goal lacked the penetration to trouble Phillip Zabaks, who was playing his first game in the Premier League since fracturing his skull against Manly earlier in the season.

At the other end, a goalkeeping blunder from Tsioutsas allowed Boardman to weave his way around the shot stopper and supply Severino with his second goal of the afternoon just before half-time.

Just as it looked like the White Eagles would head into the sheds holding on to a two goal lead, a through ball from Jamie McMaster set up Elasi, who sent his shot across the goalkeeper and into the bottom right hand corner for a 3-0 lead.

Shayne Morrisey had a chance to reduce the lead on the stroke of half-time, but a brilliant diving effort from Zabaks again prevented the visitors from opening their account.

The fans barely had time to return to their seats for the second-half when the Berries found the back of the net.

Zabaks did well to parry Sash Tirovski’s original shot, but Stefan De Jesus was waiting at the far post and tapped home to make it 3-1.

Elasi had the opportunity to hit straight back but Bariamas was again at the right place at the right time to clear off the line. Elasi wasn’t able to crack the Berries defence on that occasion, but played a hand in his side’s next goal when he was brought down in the penalty area by Shayne Morrisey.

McMaster, who was at his brilliant best all afternoon, stepped up to the penalty-spot and extended the margin to 4-1 in the 83’ minute.

Boardman may not have registered on the score sheet but he was instrumental in Bonnyrigg’s fifth goal. The striker’s flick pass to Nathan Elasi put the former Melbourne Victory forward into a one-on-one situation with the keeper. Tsioutsas did well to parry, but the ball trickled towards the charging David Gullo who belted the ball home from close range to make it 5-1.

Berries coach Steve Karavatakis was full of praise for the White Eagles after the match and said they would be hard to beat in the finals:

“All year they have been up the top and they thoroughly deserve the win today,” he said.

“They’re pretty consistent and they scored five goals today and I reckon they took it pretty easy.”

Karavatakis, who took over as coach mid-way through the season, said his side did well in the opening stages of each half.

“I wish we could play for 20’ minutes because we seem to go alright,” he said.

“But when it comes to the full 90’, we lose our way and we always concede in the last 5’ minutes of each half.”

After lifting the premiers trophy, coach Brian Brown said he was delighted his side would have a week to recover before the semi finals:

“This week we only trained once and that was a light session the night before the game,” Brown said.

“Now we’ll get serious about the finals and we treat that as a completely different competition.”

While Brown was happy to celebrate his side’s accomplishment, he said the job was only half done:

“It’s a hard thing to win the premiership but it’s even harder to win the grand final,” he said.

Courtesy of Football NSW