THE Gerringong Lions are back in the Group Seven winner's circle after a 48-16 victory over the Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs at Bill Andriske Oval on Sunday.
In cool and blustery conditions, the Lions led 18-10 at the break before they came home over the top of a fatiguing Dogs side in the second stanza.
It was the Lions who opened the scoring in the early stages when rookie prop Dylan Arnold crashed over under the posts to grab his first try in the top grade.
Joel Roberts converted for 6-nil.
That lead was short lived though as the Bulldogs hit back through speedster Dylan Carriage.
Tarje Whitford slotted the conversion for a 6-all score line after 12 minutes.
It was then the home side who would hit the front.
Skipper Todd Ryan, who was a handful for the Lions all day, attracted a number of defenders on a short-side raid and sent Carriage over for his second and 10-6 Bulldogs lead.
The Lions then had a number of chances to hit back, but couldn't execute.
Nathan Ford was ruled to have lost the ball over the line, while Joel Doosey was called back for a forward pass.
Eventually, with the weight of possession in their favour the Lions found a way through.
Roberts put Arnold into space and the prop found Rixon Russell in support who crossed.
Roberts converted and the Lions took back the lead at 12-10.
After failing to field the ensuing kick-off, the Lions repelled a Milton attacking raid and then extended their lead.
Interchange hooker Isaac Russell caught the home side napping and darted over from dummy half on the right fringe.
Roberts knocked over the conversion for an 18-10 lead that stood till half-time.
Despite running into the breeze in the second half, it was the Dogs who came out with their tails up.
After earning his side a repeat set, Ryan grabbed a well-try of his own when he proved too strong next to the posts.
Whitford converted to put the home side within two at 18-16, but that proved to be as close as they would get.
Gerringong soon found themselves on the Dogs' line and they capitalised through Roberts, who went over untouched off a deft pass from Isaac Russell at dummy-half.
The Gerringong lock converted his own try and the Lions had some breathing room at 24-16.
That lead was soon extended as the Dogs began to tire and Gerringong's speed through the ruck exposed them.
After moving up-field with relative ease, the Lions chose to run the ball on the last and Isaac Russell grabbed his second off a Judd Collyer offload.
Roberts added another conversion for 30-16.
With the wind at their back, the Lions didn't need too much help bringing the ball up the field, but a seven tackle set helped their cause and there was soon more points for the visitors.
A long-ball from Roberts gave Matt Winchester room to move out wide and the Gerringong centre crossed on the left flank.
Roberts added his sixth conversion of the day and the Lions' lead was out to 36-16.
The visitors weren't done just yet though as they ran in another two tries.
Five-eighth Corey Mulhall found some room in centre field and crossed under the posts before Winchester strolled over to grab his double.
Roberts kept up his perfect day with the boot to round out the score at 48-16.