Gorillas claim second big scalp in as many weeks

THE Warilla-Lake South Gorillas have officially announced their Group Seven premiership claims, after defeating the Kiama Knights 32-4 on Sunday.

For the second week in a row, the Gorillas have dispatched one of last year’s semi-finalists at Cec Glenholmes Oval – after defeating the Shellharbour Sharks in round one.

The match, which marked the first in Gorillas colours for Hans Schuster, Ian Catania and Jordan Harty, started with Kiama knocking-on from the kick-off – which was a sign of things to come for the red and black.

Thanks to strong field position in the opening exchanges, it only took six minutes for the hosts to open their account.

Five-eighth Schuster held the ball up perfectly and hit forward James Keelan with a pin-point inside ball to score.

Half Emanuel Sultana converted for six-nil after as many minutes.

The Gorillas doubled their advantage 13 minutes later, when an overlap was created, thanks to a quick exchange of hands.

This put winger Kye Deane into open space, to score his first of the afternoon.

Sultana failed to convert, leaving it at 10-nil.

The lead was stretched to 12 when Sultana slotted a penalty goal from 20 metres out.

Despite the hosts dominating for most of the first half, the Knights were next to score, thanks to sharp play from young half Cameron Vazzoler.

The reigning rookie of the year lofted a sensational cut-out ball that hit winger Cam Cornell in stride, to score untouched.

Vazzoler failed to convert, leaving it at 12-4 with six to play in the first half.

Any momentum the Matt Clarke’s men had was shattered when Aaron Henry held off three defenders and flicked to ball to Deane, to score his second first half try.

Sultana missed the kick, with the score being 16-4 at the break.

Things got worse for the visitors, when back-rower Toby Nobes was sin-binned for a ruck infringement and dissent.

Of the very next set, Henry took advantage of the hole left by Nobes, barging over from close range.

Sultana again failed to convert in the windy conditions, making it 20-4 with 28 to play.

Just when Kiama appeared destined to add to their total, Harty picked off a Vazzoler cut-out pass and ran 90 metres to score.

Sultana converted for 26-4.

Any chance the Knights had of fighting back were shot after the failed to score during six straight sets on the Gorillas’ line – with Cameron Whittaker coming the closest, being held up over the line.

The hosts made them pay, when Catania found Deane with an offload, helping the winger complete his hat-trick.

Sultana added the extras for 32-4, which is how the match ended.

For the hosts, Henry, Keelan, Mark Walsh, Dean and Jayden King were sensational, while Nobes, Vazzoler and Atkins never gave up for the Knights.