South Coast Group 7
Gerringong Lions 50
Port Kembla Blacks 12
GERRINGONG have capped their 2013 Group 7 minor premiership with a scrappy 50-12 win over Port Kembla at Noel Mulligan Oval on Saturday.
With the Blacks having only pride to play for and the Lions perhaps guilty of looking towards their week off, the first half was a closer affair than many would have imagined with the visitors leading 18-12 at the break.
It was Gerringong who opened the scoring; early penalties helped them up field and winger Taylor Hudson crossed in the corner for a 4-0 lead.
It wasn’t a lead that lasted long however, an error from the ensuing kick-off put the Blacks on the attack and they hit back when Ben Dove crashed over next to the posts, Josh Windisch’s conversion gave his side the lead at 6-4.
The Lions didn’t take long to hit back, the Blacks paid the price for not fielding a Brad Davidson bomb and the ball wound up in Hudson’s hands and the winger grabbed his double.
Joel Roberts converted to make it 10-6.
The Blacks weren’t ready to concede to their more fancied opponents and snatched the lead back soon after when Christian Kupenga danced his way over the line, Windisch’s conversion making it 12-10.
As time ticked on, it looked like the Blacks might take the unlikeliest of leads to the sheds until the Lions ran in two late tries.
Ben Wiringi put the visitors on the attack after a great countering run after fielding a kick and soon after Patrick Cronin strolled over to make it 14-10.
Off the following restart front-rower Tim Moore started some second phase play to put his side on the attack and allowed centre Chris Mann to cross and give the Lions a six point lead at the break.
The break seemed to do the Lions the world of good as they finally hit their straps in the second half.
Kept somewhat quiet in the first half, speedster Rixon Russell quickly got involved and jinked through the line and sent Joel Roberts on his way to the line, the fullback converting his own try to make it 24-12.
The Lions were in soon again, some hard running from Ryan Staples helped them move the ball into Port Kembla territory and centre Corey Mulhall reaped the benefits as he crossed out wide. Roberts’ boot made it 30-12.
It was three straight tries soon after, Michael Brown darted out of dummy-half and linked up with Russell, giving the halfback his 20th try of the season. Another conversion to Roberts made it 36-12.
Despite their comfortable lead the visitors didn’t take their foot off the pedal and the Blacks weren’t willing to take a backwards step and tempers began to flare as the game went on.
The Lions however kept their composure and back-rower Simon Hoare showed a deft pair of hands as he held the ball up just long enough to send Mann over for his second, Roberts again converting for 42-12.
With the Blacks tiring, Brown then took advantage as he jumped out of dummy-half and raced 40 metres to the line.
Gerringong then rounded out the scores as replacement Ewen McCarroll grabbed his first try in the top grade to make it 50-12.
Moore, Davidson and Brown all turned in strong performances for the Lions, while Mark Simon, Kupenga and James Weir did all they could for the Blacks.