KIAMA Knights have claimed their first big scalp of the 2014 South Coast Rugby League season, grinding out an upset 17-10 win over Gerringong on Sunday.
Following a heart-breaking loss after the bell to competition leaders Warilla-Lake South Gorillas in round two and holding second-placed Shellharbour for most of the previous round's match, this encounter was always going to be crucial for the Knights.
In blustery conditions at Kiama Showground it was the Knights' commitment in defence that paved the way for them to emerge victorious in what was a hard-fought, and sometimes fiery contest between the traditional rivals.
While the Lions were well below full-strength, nothing can be taken away from the Knights, who showed resolve seldom seen in Kiama teams during recent seasons.
The Lions scored first through Patrick Cronin before Kiama halfback Jack Alexander produced an awkward, bouncing kick, which a chasing Cameron Whittaker pounced on to score.
Alexander's conversion gave his side a two-point lead at the break.
The Knights came out of the sheds the more eager of the two sides and centre James Brown crashed over. Alexander's conversion put the lead out to eight at 12-4.
Throughout the game there was no love lost between the two sides, and late in the second half Kiama's Dean Gentle and Gerringong's Tim Moore were given an early shower after exchanging a flurry of punches.
Kiama received the penalty after the two were dismissed and made the most of the opportunity when Keiran Poole sliced through to make it 16-4, before Jackson Merritt scored for the Lions and Joel Roberts converted to cut the lead to six at 16-10. Alexander's field goal sealed the win.
Jamberoo Superoos scored back-to-back wins for the first time this season and moved into fourth spot, but their 36-12 victory over Albion Park-Oak Flats at Centenary Field might have come at a cost after they lost classy five-eighth Mark Asquith with a knee injury during the first half.
Both teams played the majority of the game with 12 men after Eagles second-rower Sean Jenkins and Jamberoo centre Josh Champion were sent off after a nasty brawl in the first stanza.
Shellharbour City Sharks scored 20 points in the second half to down Berry Magpies 26-6 after the scores had been locked on 6-all at half-time.
It was also locked up at half-time at Cec Glenholmes Oval, this time at 18-all, before the Warilla-Lake South Gorillas ran away with a 48-18 win over Milton-Ulladulla.
The Port Kembla Blacks were unable to capitalise on a 12-10 half-time buffer, losing 30-18 to Nowra-Bomaderry Jets.