THE Kiama Knights capped off their perfect under 18s season, defeating the Gerringong Lions 26-6 in the grand final at Collegians Sporting Complex on Sunday.
The first real opportunity to score fell to Gerringong back-rower Callum Cooper, who nearly barged over from close range, with only the desperate Knights’ defence holding him out.
Two tackles later though, the Knights nearly had their first points when speedster Dylan Morris toed the ball ahead into space.
But he failed to handle the ball, with only open space in front of him and a try went begging for the Knights.
But it didn’t take long for Morris to make up for the error, as he found space minutes later off a scrum on halfway and ran around the right edge of the Lions’ defence.
Tom Murray failed to convert and the Knights led 4-nil.
Off the next set, the Knights doubled their lead when halfback Cameron Vassoler found himself on the end of some quick hands, to score to the left of the sticks.
Murray converted the try and the minor-premiers led 10-nil with 20 minutes to go in the first half.
The Knights made it three tries in less than 10 minutes, after Nic Wingrove planted the ball down following a Morris grubber.
Murray landed the kick form the left sideline and Kiama’s lead was 16.
Against the run of play, the Lions’ Kyle Marks intercepted a loose Knights pass and ran 60 metres before being chased down by Matt Cornell.
Tow plays later, the Lions looked destined to score in the corner but Kai Butcher was adjudged out before he placed the ball down.
With two minutes to go in the half, the Lions had their first try through Toby Gumley-Quine.
The fullback received an inside ball at pace, stepped opposite number Morris and scored.
Centre Ben Grant added the extras and the score at half-time was 16-6.
The Knights extended their lead five minutes after the resumption when centre Cornell dived over out wide, following an overlap.
Murray failed to convert and the Knights’ lead was 14.
With 20 minutes to go, prop Tom Angel continued his strong game for the Knights, breaking the line and running 20 metres to score.
Murray slotted his third kick of the day and the Knights led 26-6.
The Lions had a shot to close the margin late through Jack Emery but he was bundled into touch before he could place the ball down.
In greasy conditions, the final score ended 26-6.
Best for the victors were Donte Drummond (man-of-the-match), Angel, Morris, Vassoler and Cornell while Jackson Ford was close to best on field for Gerringong and was supported well by Gumley-Quine and Tyran Wishart.