SHELLHARBOUR registered their first win of the season after triumphing in scrappy affair against Gerringong at Ron Costello Oval.
A late try to the Sharks’ Hans Schuster proved the difference in a game that never reached any great heights.
Despite the slippery conditions and heavy track underfoot, the Lions weren’t shy about using the football and their ball movement had the Sharks on the back foot in the opening stages.
It didn’t take long for the Lions to capitalise on their early ascendancy, Nathan Ford rolled the dice on the fifth tackle, deciding to try his luck from dummy half and came up trumps, crossing to make it 4-0.
Joel Roberts’ conversion made it 6-0.
The Lions’ advantage didn’t last long however, an error fielding the ensuing kick-off put the Sharks straight back on the attack and they made the most of the opportunity.
A good piece of ball movement opened up a gap in the Lions’ line and prop Harold Snell strolled through to score.
Bronx Goodwin’s conversion leveled the score at 6-6.
It looked like the game might be a back and forth affair when the Lions nabbed their second try soon after.
It was Ford again who put them on the attack, streaking downfield to put the Lions deep in Shellharbour territory.
The Lions shifted the ball to the left after Ford’s break and Joel Doosey crossed out wide to make it 10-6
It looked like Gerringong would take their four-point lead into the break, but then a string of penalties gave Shellharbour a sniff and they scored on the on sound of the half-time siren.
A desperate effort from winger Ben Stratton saw him get a hand to a grubber kick and Goodwin’s second conversion made it 12-10 to the home side at the break.
Shellharbour came out of the sheds full of running to start the second stanza, and only some resilient defence from Gerringong stopped them from increasing their lead.
The Lions worked their way into the game, and after reintroducing some second-phase play into their game they started to make in-roads and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts and Roberts kicked the goal to level the scores.
The game became an arm wrestle after that, with both sides trying all they had to find a way to gain the lead.
In the slippery conditions, it was error at the base of the scrum 10 metres out from their own line that proved costly for Gerringong.
In the ensuing set Schuster dived on a grubber to take what would we turn out to be the match winning lead.
The Lions had a couple of late chances, but try as they might, they could not find a way through.
For Shellharbour, Schuster, Snell and Brad Chapman turned in fine performances, while Brad Davidson, Taylor Hudson and Patrick Cronin were Gerringong’s best.