THE Gerringong Lions have made it back-to-back Group Seven victories after a thrilling 40-26 win over the Warilla-Lake South Gorillas at Michael Cronin Oval on Saturday.
In what was a back and forth affair, the Lions led 16-12 at half-time and stormed home with four tries in the final 15 minutes after the Gorillas jumped to a second half lead.
With a strong breeze at their back, the Gorillas dominated possession in the opening stages and had their first points inside the first five minutes.
A jinking run out of dummy-half by Kayne Brennan put the Gorillas right on the Lions' line and Hans Schuster burrowed over to open the scoring.
Daniel Burke converted for an early 6-nil lead.
That lead was soon doubled when a grubber from Burke was knocked on by the Lions and Brennan swooped on the ball.
Burke's conversion had the Gorillas up 12-nil after 10 minutes.
Just as they looked to have all the ascendancy, the Gorillas failed to field the ensuing kick-off and the Lions made them pay.
Gerringong centre Matt Winchester attracted the Gorillas' defence and slipped a miracle ball to Joel Doosey to score in the corner for 12-4.
The Gorillas lead was trimmed further as the Lions caught them napping with some second phase play.
After going through a number of sets of hands, the ball ended up in the hands of Corey Mulhall who crossed under the posts.
Jake Taylor converted to bring the score to 12-10.
There was then a sense of déjà vu as the Lions hit the lead with another try coming of the back of a number of offloads.
After throwing the ball from one side of the field to the other, Gerringong centre Danny Wedd found some space on the right fringe and crashed over.
Taylor converted for a 16-12 Gerringong lead that stood till half-time.
It was again the Gorillas who started better in the second half and they had the lead back in the first set after the kick-off.
After rolling up the field halfback Nathan Hore found a gap in the Lions' line and raced away for a fine solo try.
Burke added the conversion for an 18-16 Gorillas lead.
The visitors soon extended that lead when Craig Nolan crossed in the corner.
Schuster found space out of dummy-half and linked up with Aaron Henry who sent the centre over for a 22-16 lead.
The Gorillas then made it three straight tries when winger Callum Gromek out jumped the Lions to pluck a kick from the air and score out wide.
Burke's conversion attempt fell short and the Gorillas held a 10-point lead with 20 minutes remaining.
Despite the score line, the Lions remained calm and with 15 minutes remaining began to mount their comeback.
Nathan Ford cut the Gorillas open through the middle to put the Lions on the attack and they capitalised through backrower Jordan Chandler, who crashed over next to the posts.
Taylor converted to bring the score to 26-22.
With nine minutes remaining, the Lions then clawed back the lead when they ran the ball on the fifth tackle.
Winchester had the Gorillas' defence in two minds and spun through the defence to score.
Taylor added another conversion to put the Lions up by two.
The Gorillas then cruelled their chances of a comeback when the following kick-off didn't go the required 10 metres and Gerringong made them pay.
Replacement Jacob Rein muscled his way over from dummy-half and Taylor knocked over another conversion to put the Lions up 34-26.
The Lions weren't quite done yet though and capped the win when Doosey crossed in the corner for his second on the stroke of full-time.
Taylor slotted the sideline conversion to round out the score at 40-26.
Ford, Taylor and Wedd were among the Lions' best in an entertaining match, while Henry, Brennan and Lloyd Thomas had strong games for the Gorillas.