KEY injuries and a dip in form saw last year's grand finalists Warilla-Lake South make a sluggish start to the 2021 Group Seven season.
Through the opening seven rounds, the Gorillas were 2-3 and losing touch with the competition's front-runners.
One of the reasons for the Cec Glenholmes Oval-based side's resurgence is the shift from back-row to hooker of Dean Hodgson.
"Being back to a position I've always played is probably why there has been a spike in my performance," said Hodgson, who was part of the Gorillas' under 18s side that lost the grand final to Milton-Ulladulla in 2017.
"As much as I enjoy playing out of dummy-half, I'm happy to play wherever the team needs me.
"Combinations are finally starting to come together, which is allowing guys to play up to their potential."
2021 marks Hodgson's first full season back at his junior club, following a stint at Windang with his brothers Ryan and Bevan - after a broken wrist derailed his campaign last year.
"It's unreal being back at my junior club and around all the guys I grew up playing with," the 21-year-old said.
"Off the back of those two wins, the vibe around the club is great, both on and off the field - which is super important if we want to be successful this season."
The blue and gold will be out to make it three wins on the trot on Sunday when they host arch-rivals Shellharbour from 3pm.
Although Hodgson's side got the win on round one, the Illawarra Sports High School alumnus knows the Sharks have improved a lot since then.
"We have spoken about how we need to start winning consistently, not only for our ladder position but for our form and confidence," he said.
"Sunday gives us a great opportunity to do that on our home ground.
"It's important we stick to our simple game plan and win the arm-wrestle in the middle of the park - if we do that, I'm confident we will come out on top."
The Gorillas and Sharks fixture is one of three taking place on Sunday, with the Stingrays hosting the Eagles and the Bulldogs chasing their first win of the season against the Jets at Bill Andriske Oval.
Round 10's other game will see Jamberoo take on Kiama at Kevin Walsh Oval - with the hosts celebrating old boys day.
Gerringong has the bye this weekend.
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