THE Warilla-Lake South Gorillas have edged out the Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs 18-16 at Bill Andriske Mollymook Oval on Sunday, in one of the gutsiest performances on the season.
In their second home match of the season, it was the Dogs who started the stronger – opening the scoring after just six minutes.
On the back of four straight penalties against the Gorillas, which saw prop Jake Davidson sent to the bin for 10 minutes, rampaging prop Arthur Scott barged over form close range, after receiving an inside ball from Nick Goodman. Half Mick Salafia added the extras and the hosts led 6-nil.
The Gorillas, despite being down a man, made a quick response through in-form half Emanuel Sultana.
Following a quick exchange of hands, skipper Aaron Henry hit Sultana with a cut-out pass, which put into a gaping hole – with the half doing the rest.
Chad Lisch hit the upright on his conversion attempt and the score remained 6-4.
Minutes later, Sultana turned the provider, putting back-rower Nick King into a hole to score.
Despite missing the kick from the same spot, Lisch’s men led 8-6 after 18 minutes.
Sultana continued to attack the left edge of the Dogs, stepping back inside before quick hands ended in winger Aaron Sultana’s hands to score.
Lisch was having not luck with his conversions, missing his third for the day – as Warilla led 12-6.
Just before the break, the Dogs had their second when winger Andrew Reilly somehow got a left-handed flick ball back into the field of play while falling out of bounds, which Waqa gathered to score. Forward Peter Lett missed the conversion and the score at half-time was 12-10.
The second half was not like the first half at all, with points becoming very hard to come by in a war of attrition.
Things were made worse for the hosts with Salafia, Waqa and Mitch Klein all forced from the field due to injury – before Lett missed a kick that would have levelled the scores.
With 10 minutes to go, the Gorillas appeared to put the match to bed, after Craig Nolan gathered a kick and scored out wide – which Lish converted to extend the lead to eight.
But behind a raucous home crowd, the Dogs weren’t done. After a break by centre Blake Mackey, best-on-ground forward Arthur Scott burst onto a pass, before stepping Lisch to score his second of the afternoon.
Kirren Roughley slotted the two with less than a minute left to set up a grandstand finish, but the hosts couldn’t find the points, with the match finishing 18-16.
The Gorillas were led by Emanuel Sultana, Henry, Lisch and Andrew Diomei, while Scott, Nathan Deaves, Waqa and Goodman starred for the Dogs.