WARILLA-LAKE South Gorillas have set up a date with Gerringong Lions to see who will be the first side through to this year's grand final after a 22-16 win over Milton at Cec Glenholmes Oval on Sunday.
In a game that never reached any great heights, the Gorillas did what they needed to do to overcome the Bulldogs, who seemed flat all day, missing the services of fullback Tom Cook for the whole game and captain and lock Gary Warburton for the second half.
It was the visitors who scored first when an early penalty put them on the attack and sweeping back-line play put winger Blake Mackie over in the corner for a 4-0 lead.
The lead wasn't long lived though; Milton paid the price for allowing a kick to bounce and allowed Warilla to earn a repeat set.
The Gorillas made the most of the opportunity as Aaron Henry proved too hard to stop from close range and crashed over under the posts. Beau Sewell converted for a 6-4 Gorillas lead.
Warilla extended their lead soon after, with a decision to run the ball on the fifth tackle paying dividends as the Gorillas streaked down field with the ball passing through a number of hands before ending up with winger Jarryd Pepper, who crossed in the corner to make it 10-4.
Warilla looked to build their lead, but proved to be their own worst enemies.
They gave up a penalty in possession that proved costly when Bulldogs hooker Adam Stone mesmerised some tired Warilla defenders and darted over from dummy-half. Luke Young's conversion made it 10-10 at the break.
The Gorillas came out the more determined side and their exuberance served them well when Tyson Brown flew high to pluck Luke Watts's bomb and give his side a 14-10 lead.
Sensing that they had the Bulldogs' measure, the Gorillas kept the game up-tempo and extended their lead after some hard running and second-phase play put the home side deep in Milton territory and Chad Lisch crossed out wide to make it 18-10.
With less than five minutes to go, Milton finally managed to find a way through, Hayden Naylor storming through a gap to score next to the upright. Young's conversion brought his side within two points at 18-16.
It proved too little too late, however, because Milton couldn't find a way out of their own end of the field in the dying minutes and Lisch grabbed his second as the hooter sounded to round out the score at 22-16.
For the Gorillas, Sewell, Brown and Watts all turned in fine performances while for Milton Stone, Naylor and Young did all they could for the Bulldogs.
In the weekend's knockout semi-final, Jamberoo and Kiama battled out a tense local derby and a late try to Superoos captain-coach Matt Coelho gave his side a 20-14 victory.