PORT Kembla has bounced back from the previous round’s heart-breaking loss to register just their second win of the Group 7 Rugby League season.
The cellar-dwelling Blacks, which were somewhat unlucky to narrowly lose to competition front-runners Warilla-Lake South the week prior, downed Jamberoo 30-18 at Noel Mulligan Oval.
A spirited home team out-enthused their opponents, halfback and leader Mark Simon utilising the substantial breeze behind them early to produce two 40-20 kicks inside the opening half on Saturday afternoon.
The Blacks led 18-nil at the oranges and despite nervous moments hung on for the victory.
A spate of early infractions by the visitors afforded Port easy passage up-field, but the first of the skipper’s 40-20 kicks laid the platform for their inaugural point-scoring.
In the 16th minute, some clever lead-up work, including a miraculous Simon pass enabled Pete Tamata to dive over in the corner.
Simon booted the sideline conversion for good measure.
His second 40-20 again put them at the money end of the field, and they cashed in when Christian Kupenga burst through from close range.
Superoos fullback Jarrod Schodde was sin-binned for a professional foul just shy of the half-hour mark, Port reaping the rewards.
From the next tackle, Jack Garrett barged over for a simple four-pointer and 18-nil.
Maintaining the rage throughout second halves has been an issue for Port throughout the season.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the blustery conditions lessened somewhat at half-time, largely negating any potential advantage in that area.
Another fade-out seemed possible when a cross-field kick was reeled in by Superoos centre Michal Maslanka, Schodde’s goal cutting the deficit to 18-6.
From the ensuing restart a clear turning point occurred.
On the back of off-loads and quick play-the-balls Jamberoo steamrolled through the middle.
A Superoos line break appeared certain to result in a try under the black dot, if not for pivot Josh Maude, filling in at fullback defensively, who pulled off a game-changing intercept to deny the visitors.
Port capitalised soon after when Ronald Gatt caught and passed a Simon bomb in one motion, Kupenga the beneficiary for his second try.
Trailing 24-6, Jamberoo still had Blacks players and supporters alike on edge when quick-fire tries to Schodde and Ben Barnard put them within six points inside the final 10 minutes.
This set up a grandstand finish, until back-rower Tane Sturmey touched down for the match-winner by diving over from dummy half.
Simon, Sturmey, Maude and Garrett were the standouts for the Blacks, while Gavin Jarrett, Keiran Kellaway and Schodde were Jamberoo’s best.