A PENALTY goal after the siren from Warilla-Lake South fullback Craig Nolan allowed the Gorillas to escape with a scrappy 20-18 win over the Kiama Knights at Kiama Showground on Friday night.
As the game entered its dying stages it looked like the two sides were set to share the points after Kiama's Jack Alexander levelled it at 18-all with a penalty goal with less than 10 minutes to go. However, a late penalty for an indiscretion in the ruck ultimately proved costly.
Warilla jumped to an early lead when five-eighth Jesse Dee sent Aaron Henry over next to the posts, Nolan converting for the 6-0 lead.
Fresh off their upset win over Jamberoo in the opening round the Knights showed great determination to wrestle back the advantage from the more fancied visitors before half-time.
Corey Grigg opened the scoring for the Knights, storming on to a ball from fullback Tom Atkins to crash over, and Alexander's conversion tied it up.
It was Alexander who then stepped up to give his side the lead, the halfback dummying his way through the Gorillas' defence and then finding Cameron Whittaker, who crossed out wide to give Kiama an unlikely 10-6 lead at half-time.
The scoreline remained unchanged until 20 minutes into the second half when converted tries to Chad Lisch and Henry seemed to have given Warilla a match-winning lead.
To Kiama's credit they continued to fight back and were rewarded when Keiran Poole stepped his way over for a converted try to cut the lead to two. Alexander appeared to have salvaged a competition point for his side via his penalty goal, until Nolan kicked the deciding two points.
At Ron Costello Oval, Shellharbour claimed their first scalp of the year with a 16-12 win over Gerringong.
A late try to the Sharks' Ryan Schuster proved the difference after Shellharbour took a 12-10 lead at the break.
The Lions crossed first through Nathan Ford, before the Sharks levelled the scores through Harold Snell.
Gerringong winger Joel Doosey then crossed in the corner for a 10-6 Lions' lead, before Ben Stratton grabbed a converted try on half-time to give the Sharks a two-point buffer at the break.
A penalty goal to Joel Roberts levelled the scores midway through the second half and set up a thrilling finish.
In the other games, Jamberoo and Nowra-Bomaderry fought out a tense 28-all draw at Nowra on Saturday night.
Port Kembla snared their first win of 2014 with an upset 20-18 victory over Milton-Ulladulla.