GERRINGONG have dampened Port Kembla’s Centenary celebrations, with the reigning premiers downing the Blacks 48-12 at Noel Mulligan Oval on Saturday.
With the Blacks’ centenary ball on Saturday night, it looked like they might have two reasons to celebrate when they jumped to an early 10-nil lead, but Gerringong clawed their way back into the game and ran away with it in the second half.
After the two sides tested each other in the opening sets, it was the Blacks who struck first when they found space on the left hand edge and Christian Kupenga crossed for 4-nil.
A Gerringong error soon after put the home side on the attack and captain-coach Mark Simon caught the Lions napping around the ruck and burrowed his way over.
Josh Windisch converted for 10-nil.
Just as it appeared the upset of the year could be on the cards, a Corey Mulhall bust put Gerringong on the attack and Patrick Cronin slipped an off-load to send Joel Roberts over, the centre converting his own try for 10-6.
The Lions soon found themselves on the attack again and they made the most of the opportunity when Brad Davidson danced his way over under the posts, Roberts’ second conversion giving Gerringong a narrow 12-10 lead, which they held until half-time.
From the start, the second half was all Gerringong as they went about dashing any hopes the Blacks had.
The first set saw the Lions roll up-field with ease and a spilt bomb saw the ball find its way into Joel Doosey’s hands and the winger strolled over to make it 16-10.
Simon looked like he might have orchestrated a Blacks try in reply as he got on the outside of his man, but Gerringong weathered the storm before extending their lead again.
A penalty gifted them field position and Doosey had his second when the Lions found holes in the Blacks’ left edge to make it 20-10.
Sensing they were taking the ascendancy, Gerringong kept the pressure on and found themselves on the Blacks’ line once again, allowing hooker Nathan Ford to crash over.
Roberts added the extras to move the score to 26-10.
Everything was starting to fall the Lions’ way, made evident when Ford ran from dummy-half on the last and initiated a string of second-phase play that saw Davidson grab his second.
Roberts’ boot made it 32-10.
Roberts was in the thick of things soon after, the centre juggling a miracle flick pass from Taylor Hudson before touching down out wide to make it 36-10.
Late tries to Isaac Russell and Tim Moore, both converted by Roberts put an exclamation point on the win and rounded at the score at 48-10.
For Gerringong, Cronin, Davidson and Ford all played well, while Simon, Kaine Edwards and Corey Honan did all they could for Port Kembla.