South Coast Group 7 - Preliminary Final
Warilla-Lake South Gorillas 26
Gerringong Lions 16
WARILLA are the first side through to this year’s Group 7 decider after a tough 26-16 win over Gerringong at Michael Cronin Oval.
Two late second half tries to Gorillas’ winger Chad Lisch proved to be the turning points needed for Warilla to triumph in the enthralling match.
The win gives the Gorillas a week off next weekend, while Gerringong will take on Jamberoo for the right to meet them in the grand final.
After the Lions’ reserve grade side produced a thrilling win against the Gorillas in the lower grade, it looked early like the Lions were following their path when back rower Michael Brown crossed in the opening minutes.
Joel Roberts’ conversion gave the home side a 6-nil lead.
Brown’s try spurred both sides into action and they started to throw everything they had at each other, but strong defence from both sides saw the score stay the same.
The Gorillas managed to build some thanks to a repeat set and they reaped the benefits when some second phase play saw Jesse Dee cross for the visitors to make it 6-4.
After Dee’s try both sides seemed to lose their way somewhat as the error count steadily increased.
It was the Lions who broke out of the slump first, Patrick Cronin holding the ball up long enough to send rookie centre Corey Mulhall over the line.
Roberts’ second conversion sent the two sides to half time with the Lions leading 12-4.
The Lions got off to a horror start after the break with an error in the opening set, but some excellent defence saw them hold the Gorillas out.
The Gorillas continued to dominate possession and the Lions looked to have weathered the storm when the Gorillas produced an error, but a late call from the touch judge saw the referees’ call change to a penalty and the Gorillas were on the attack again.
They again made the most of the opportunity when Keiran Rankmore proved too strong to handle and brought the score to 12-8.
The game then again became an arm wrestle, as both sides continued to throw all they could muster at each other.
It was the Gorillas who finally managed to find a way through, Chad Lisch leaping high to pluck a bomb from the air and score.
Craig Nolan’s conversion gave the visitors their first lead of the day at 14-12.
The Lions weren’t done however and continued to take it to the Gorillas and successive penalties saw them on the attack and back in front when Nathan Ford latched on to an off load and made it 16-14 to the home side.
Soon after the Lions were on the attack again, looking for what could have been the match winner when things went awry.
Attacking the Gorillas’ line a Lions’ pass went to ground and Lisch swooped on the ball and raced the length of the field to score.
Nolan’s conversion gave the Gorillas the lead at 20-16.
The Lions threw all they had at the Gorillas in an effort to find the winning points but couldn’t find a way through and the Gorillas sealed the win with a converted try to Jarryd Pepper in the dying stages.
For the Gorillas, Beau Sewell, Watts and Tyson Brown all had strong games while for the Lions Tim Moore, Ford and Adam Thomson did all they could.