THE Jamberoo Superoos have opened their premiership defence after holding out a vastly improved Albion Park-Oak Flats Eagles in round two of the VB South Coast Group 7 Rugby League competition on Sunday.
In a hard-fought clash at Centenary Field, the Superoos scored two tries in the final 11 minutes to grab an important 26-18 win.
In fact the visitors couldn’t have had a better start, when on the back of three early penalties second-rower Corey Grigg spun out of three tackles to crash over out wide.
Fullback Dean Watling judged the wind perfectly to give the Superoos a 6-nil lead.
The Eagles replied almost immediately when Simon Harris charged straight up the middle and found speedster Danny Sartori backing up to score beside the posts.
Winger Lauchlan Bryant-Smith converted to tie the scores.
The Eagles were on a roll and centre Drew Butterfield exposed some soft goal-line defence to dive over from dummy-half for Bryant-Smith to convert in the 18th minute, but a great run by Watling put Jamberoo on the attack soon afterwards and five-eighth Josh Kent found a charging James Gilmore who scored in the corner to close the gap to two.
But the Eagles were in a determined mood and they soon had an eight point lead when prop Kane Scarett bulldozed his way over from close range and Bryant-Smith converted for an 18-10 advantage.
It was obvious that the Superoos needed to close the gap before the break and again it was Kent who provided a great pass for utility forward Joe Rokoqo to score out wide and Watling converted to close the Eagles halftime lead to 18-16.
The second half was a whole different story as Jamberoo lifted their workmate, despite their bench being reduced to just two fit players through injury, as they continually pressured the defence, twice being help up over the line and losing the ball on another occasion before a piece of Jake Clarke magic, who leapt high to collect a Jono Dallas cross-kick and get it to Grigg who dived over out wide.
Watling converted to give Jamberoo their first lead for most 60 minutes, 22-18.
The match was finally put to bed with seven minutes remaining when half Jono Dallas caught the defence flat-footed as he dummied his was home.
Referee Drury over-ruled the touch judges on Watling’s conversion, but the Superoos had done enough to secure a deserved win.
There were some outstanding players in both sides, but none better than Corey Grigg, Kent, Watling, Matt Webster, Jake Clarke and Luke Asquith for the winners, while Skaretts, Simon Harris, Chris Rowles and Butterfield were among the best for the Eagles.