The Warilla Lake-South Gorillas have produced their most important victory of the 2019 Group Seven Rugby League season, when they sealed a come from behind 24-20 victory over the Kiama Knights at Kiama Showground on Sunday.
The visitors trailed a tough Knights side by 20-6 during the early stages of the second half, as they piled on 18 unanswered points and the victory got them back into fifth position on the ladder.
The match marked a special occasion for Kiama Knights centre Jay Delaney who was standing in his 100th first grade game for the club.
His side claimed first half honours as they defended their own goal line with resilience and raced to an early 6-nil lead through Dylan Morris, who pounced on a grubber kick from his opposing number as he bolted 95 metres down the middle of the park.
Cameron Vazzoler converted as Kiama led 6-nil.
The Gorillas continued to test the tough and stable defence of the Knights, but the hosts extended their lead to 10-nil through Cody Wheatley, who was helped by a clever grubber kick by Tom Atkins deep inside the Gorillas half.
Warilla forced an error off the following kick off which led to the try of Jaime Burns who was assisted by a top notch cut out pass from Joshua Maude.
Daniel Burke added the extras as they trailed Kiama by 10-6.
Both sides struggled with their respective completion rates during the first half.
However, the Knights conjured up a clever attacking play from a scrum 20 metres out from the Gorillas line which benefited Matt Morris who scored a crucial try. Kiama had a commanding 14-6 lead at the break.
The Gorillas continued to have success off the short kick off, as the second half began in similar fashion to the first where Dylan Morris ran the length of the field as he pounced on a deflection of a grubber kick towards the Knights try line. Vazzoler converted as the Knights extended their lead to 20-6.
The visitors got some momentum going in their attack as Guy Rosewarn barged over from close range and was assisted by a hardworking Hans Schuster at dummy half. Burke converted as they trailed the Knights by 20-12.
Warilla were well and truly back in the game when Jaime Burns crossed the white chalk for the visitors near the western touchline.
Warilla trailed Kiama by 20-16 with under 20 minutes left in the contest.
On the back of few penalties, Sam Hooper spotted a gap in the Knights defensive line just a few metres shy of the try line.
Burke converted the try and five minutes later slotted a penalty goal which chewed up a bit of time on the clock as Warilla lead 24-20.
The Knights had the last roll of the dice with back to back sets of six but the Gorillas successfully prevented any last minute heroics as they ran out victors by 24-20.
For the Gorillas Hans Schuster, Daniel Burke, Guy Rosewarn, Sam Hooper and Jake Goody were the standouts while Luke Chalker, Tom Angel, Tom Atkins, Dylan Morris and Kieran Poole were the best for Kiama.