WARILLA-Lake South managed to keep their unbeaten 2014 record intact at Bomaderry Sporting Complex on Sunday; but only just.
The Gorillas ran into a spirited Nowra-Bomaderry Jets outfit, who managed to become the first team to take a point off them this season, with the bruising encounter ending in a 30-all draw.
Perhaps the heavy overnight rain played a factor, with a high number of errors creeping in during the first 10 minutes of play.
The Gorillas cause was not helped when they lost winger Jarryd pepper to injury early on, but they responded on the scoreboard when Joel Skeates crossed for their first try in the corner.
It looked as though it might be a long day for the home side, with Chad Lisch and Tyson Brown both adding to the Gorillas try tally inside the first 20 minutes.
But when all three conversions went astray, their lead was only 12-nil, leaving the Jets within striking distance of being back in it.
The Jets got on the board after 25 minutes when a high bomb from Artie Stewart on the fifth tackle was snatched by a leaping Mark Brandon, who needed only to place the ball down to score their first.
Fortunately for the visitors, the Jets had no more luck in their goalkicking and the score remained 12-4.
Despite the eight-point buffer, the try seemed to bring the Jets alive for the first time in the match and they looked very dangerous in attack.
Three penalties against the Gorillas in the space of about a minute earned forward Ryan Johnston a stint in the sin bin and the Jets took full advantage when Brandon crossed in the corner for his second.
The Jets managed to square things up just on the stroke of half-time when the ageless Mick Blattner crashed over, but a third unsuccessful conversion attempt meant the two sides were level at 12-all at the break.
The second half began with just as much excitement when the Jets almost re-gathered from the kick off, but the pendulum swung back in the favour of the Gorillas when Jesse Dee crossed for a soft try just minutes later.
Nick Lazarevski finally had some luck with the boot, slotting the first conversion of the afternoon to give the Gorillas an 18-12 lead.
But the Jets were not kept quiet for long and they soon had another opportunity when Nathan Falzon made a bust up the sideline.
Falzon didn’t quite have the legs to score and neither did support player Geoff Johnson, but the Gorillas could not hold out on the next tackle.
A familiar face in Mark Brandon went in from dummy half to score another hat-trick for the season and it was all square again when his brother Keiran hit the Jets first successful conversion.
The Jets sent an almighty scare through the Gorillas camp when they hit the lead for the first time.
A charge down from Nathan Falzon left the Jets centre in open territory and this time he had the legs to run in and score, putting his side in front 24-18.
While the Jets defence stayed strong, the Gorillas were clearly not too keen to concede their first defeat.
Eventually all the tackling took its toll and the Jets and Damien Paulissen was too strong near the line.
Paulissen’s try saw the two sides level again at 24-all with 12 minutes remaining.
The Gorillas applied a sucker punch when hooker Beau Sewell went over from a dummy half, to give them a 30-24 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining.
But the Jets still refused to give in and they managed to bring it back to a stalemate one more time when fullback Isaac Mumberson scored with three and a half minutes remaining.
The final minutes offered some very tense moments, but neither side had any final tricks up their sleeve and both appeared somewhat frustrated when the game ended in a draw.
Nathan Falzon, Ryan James, Zac Kershaw and Mark Brandon were the standouts for the Jets, while Keiran Rankmore, Aaron Henry and Damien Paulissen were the best for the Gorillas.