WARILLA-Lake South Gorillas have taken a grip on the VB South Coast Group 7 minor premiership and severely dented Jamberoo Superoos semi-final hopes after a 30-14 win at Cec Glenholmes Oval on Saturday.
In an at-times spiteful game, the Gorillas flexed their muscles in a convincing performance against a desperate Jamberoo side who trailed 16-4 at half-time and launched a fightback midway through the second half, but in the end the home side finished strongly to win comfortably.
Both sides were below full strength, the Gorillas without five-eighth Jesse Dee who dislocated his shoulder last week, while Jamberoo were still without props Gavin Jarrett and Luke Gilmore and lost winger Ben Barnard at halftime and coach Matt Coelho late the game.
It was Jamberoo who got the better start and the combination of the Maslanka brothers on the right side that gave rookie winger Kyle Stokes a sniff and he did superbly to dive over the corner.
However this only sparked the home side into action and on the back of a penalty, Gorillas prop Damien Paulissen took the most direct route to the try line through two defenders to level the scores.
Both sides traded more that possession in the next 15 minutes, with Warilla’s Aaron Henry and Jamberoo’s Matt Coelho spending time in the sin bin after a melee as tempers flared.
The Gorillas grabbed the lead in the 27th minute when Jamberoo failed to defuse a bomb and Tyson Brown dived on the loose ball to grab the lead and Craig Nolan converted for a 10-4 lead.
This try really lifted the home side and just four minutes later they struck again when Ryan Johnston stormed onto an Aaron Henry pass to crash over, and Nolan again converted to give their side a commanding 12-point lead.
The early stages of the second half were tight as Jamberoo battled to get back into the game, but a delicate grubber-kick by Henry into the in-goal gave Brown his second try and almost immediately Brown was again in the action as he sent winger Jarryd Pepper over to extend the score to 24-4.
But suddenly the Superoos found some momentum and in the 63rd minute Jamberoo half Jono Dallas showed all his attacking class as he comfortably beat his opposite number to score under the posts. Jarrod Schodde’s conversion took his side to double figures.
Three minutes later they were in again when replacement hooker James Asquith showed great strength to force his way over from dummy-half out wide and at 24-14, the visitors had a glimmer of hope.
But that was quickly distinguished when a mistake almost from the restart gifted Warilla field possession and Aaron Henry made them pay when he scored next to the posts and Nolan’s conversion rounded out the scoring.
In a powerful display, Henry, in his new role at five-eighth, Mark Walsh, Adrew Diomei, Tyson Brown and Ryan Johnston were outstanding for the Gorillas, while Jono Dallas, Simon Maslanka, Kieran Kellaway, Jarrod Schodde and Kyle Stokes tried hard to lift their side.