GERRINGONG have continued their solid start to the 2017 season with a 44-18 win over Albion Park-Oak Flats at Centenary Field on Sunday.
The Lions’ win came off the back of a first half blitz, with the visitors taking a 30-6 lead into the break before somewhat taking their foot off the gas in the second 40 minutes.
The Eagles’ afternoon didn’t start well as they failed to control the opening kick-off and Gerringong soon opened their account.
A deft kick towards the posts from Daniel Brown was collected by Jake Taylor and the backrower opened the scoring.
Taylor converted his own try for an early 6-nil lead.
Some ill-discipline by the home side again saw Gerringong in prime attacking position and they capatilised through fullback Isaac Russell.
Nathan Ford’s speed out of dummy-half had the Eagles on the back foot and the Gerringong custodian took advantage on the left fringe.
Taylor added the conversion for a 12-nil Gerringong lead after 14 minutes.
The Park’s discipline continued to let them down in the opening stages and Gerringong continued to take advantaged of that.
Centre Corey Mulhall was the next to score when he showed too much from a tap close to the line.
Taylor added the conversion for 18-nil.
A decision to run the ball on the last and some quick hands not long after put the Lions further.
Russell was again on the end of the movement and grabbed his second with Taylor’s fourth conversion pushing the lead out to 24-nil.
Joel Doosey was the next of the Lions to get his name on the score sheet.
Ford again found space out of dummy-half and managed to get an offload away to the winger who touched down under the posts.
Taylor’s good day with the boot continued and the lead was out to five converted tries.
It looked like the Lions would take that lead to the break until youngster Jiye Ellis gave the home crowd something to celebrate.
The centre raced three-quarters of the field to score, with Aaron Merrick converting for 30-6 at the break.
The Park started the second half the better of the two sides and made it two tries on the trot after capitalizing on some early pressure on the Gerringong line.
Backrower Chris Rowles burrowed over to the right of the posts before Merrick added his second conversion to bring the score to 30-12.
The Park continued to pressure the Lions after Rowles’ try and came close to trimming the lead further only to be denied by some strong Gerringong defence.
Possession then swung to the Lions and with a bit of luck they soon extended their lead.
Russell was in the right place at the right time to scoop up a loose ball and sprint away for his third and to push the score to 34-12.
Any potential Park comeback was then soon extinguished when Michael Brown crashed over for a converted try to put Gerringong further ahead at 40-12.
To the Eagle’s credit they didn’t give up and put some respectability into to score line when Ellis soared above some Gerringong defenders to grab his second.
Merrick converted for 40-18.
After Ellis’ second try the rub of the green seemed to favour Gerringong, much to the chagrin of the home supporters and players, and for a period it appeared tempers would flare before Gerringong replacement Callum Wishart dived over to round out the score at 44-18.
Gerringong were best served by Nathan Ford along with props PJ Ford and Tim Moore who both turned in 80-minute performances, while Rowles, Jack Scurr and Simon Harris were Albion Park’s best.