GERRINGONG have fallen to their second straight Group 7 defeat, going down to the Warilla-Lake South Gorillas 22-18 at Michael Cronin Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The reigning-premiers led 18-10 at half-time before the Gorillas turned in strong defensive performance in the second half to come away with the victory.
It was the Gorillas who got off to the better start, with Aaron Henry crossing early in his return from suspension for a 4-nil lead.
That lead was short lived however as some ill-discipline helped Gerringong deep into Warilla territory.
A clever kick towards the posts from Lions’ five-eighth Daniel Brown was allowed to bounce in the in-goal and Isaac Russell pounced.
Rixon Russell’s conversion put Gerringong ahead 6-4.
That lead would stand until mid-way through the half when the Gorillas would again claw their way back in front.
Henry was again a handful near the line and this time off-loaded to Andrew Diomei and the Warilla prop crashed over next to the posts.
Chad Lisch’s conversion saw the visitors retake the lead at 10-4.
With 10 minutes remaining in the half Gerringong managed to hit back.
Rookie centre Toby Gumley-Quine continued his strong start to first grade, cutting through the Gorilla’s line and racing 30 metres to score under the posts.
Rixon Russell added the conversion for 12-10 Gerringong lead.
It appeared the score would remain that way until the break before Gerringong were presented with one last scoring chance.
The Lions made the most of the opportunity and shifted the ball to the left and Gumley-Quine crashed over in the corner for his second.
Rixon Russell’s sideline conversion had just enough on it and the score sat at 18-10 at the break.
The opening stages of the second half saw the Lions dominate field position and position thanks to a stretch of ill-discipline from the Gorillas.
The string of penalties resulted in Warilla being reduced to 12 men when Lisch was given a stint in the sin bin.
Soon after Lisch was sin-binned the Lions looked to have extended their lead through Ewen McCarroll, but the Gerringong hooker was held up.
That would be the closest the home side would come to cracking the Gorillas’ line as the visitors weathered the Gerringong attack.
That period of defence proved to be turning point as the Gorilla’s lifted in intensity afterwards and soon trimmed the lead to two.
A determined run by Nick King proved too hard to handle close to the Lions’ line and he crossed next to the posts.
Kye Deane’s conversion bought the score to 18-16.
Gerringong would hold that two-point lead until there was just over 10 minutes remaining when the Gorillas scored what would ultimately be the match winner.
Ill-discipline from the Lions helped put the Gorillas on the attack and Lisch proved too elusive close to the line and touched-down to the right of the posts.
The fullback converted his try for 22-18.
As time ticked down the Lions were presented with one last chance to at least steal a draw when they looked to have the Gorillas caught short on the right but the ball went to ground and the visitors held on.
For Warilla, King, Henry and Diomei had strong games, while Gumley-Quine, McCarroll and Kal Collins did all they could for Gerringong.