THE Jamberoo Superoos have shown they aren’t going to surrender their VB South Coast Rugby League first grade premiership crown without a fight after their second sudden-death win in two weeks, after downing the Warilla-Lake South Gorillas 18-10 at Kevin Walsh Oval on Saturday.
After fighting all season and grabbing the final semi-final spot in the final few rounds, the side has now eliminated Gerringong and the Gorillas in the space of two weeks and will now play Kiama for a spot in the grand final and a chance for back-to-back titles at Kiama Showground next Saturday.
Both sides went into the game below full strength, but it just added to the drama of what turned into a fascinating battle, with five-eighth Blair Grant opening the Warilla scoring with a close-range penalty goal in the eighth minute.
It was Jamberoo however who had the first try of the game in the 14th when they ran the ball on the final tackle and gave Jake Clarke space, with the centre’s delicate chip kick landing back in his hands and he crashed over out wide.
Dean Watling missed the conversion, but Jamberoo led 4-2.
Grant levelled the scores in the 20th minute, with his second close-range penalty as both sides tried to get the upper hand and penalties frequently punctuating play.
Jamberoo were starting to put a lot of pressure on the Gorillas defence and Clarke steamed onto the ball out wide, only to be cut down by a superb tackle by rookie halfback Sam Hooper, however Watling made the most of the confusion in the defence and crossed from dummy-half and then converted from out wide for the home side to lead 10-4.
While Watling’s try was important, his next contribution just before half-time turned the game on its head.
Gorilla’s Tyson Brown is without doubt one of the best centres in the competition and when he gets into open space, he inevitably either scores or sets up a try.
So when he burst into open spaces it was trouble for the home side, however Watling pulled off an amazing covering tackle and got Brown into touch in the corner.
He topped off a memorable first half right on half-time when he slotted a penalty goal to see his side a handy 12-4 half-time lead.
The Gorillas probably needed to be first to score after the break and a run of four successive penalties got them in a perfect attacking position and eventually rookie replacement forward Matt Murray was able to force his way over out wide.
Grant converted to close the gap to 12-10.
The game then turned into a real arm-wrestle and eventually the home side were able to extend their lead when Watling sent powerhouse second-rower Corey Grigg over after a clever blindside raid to extend the lead to six.
Shortly afterwards, Watling added a simple penalty from in front of the posts after a ruck infringement, to give the Superoos a vital eight-point buffer.
Despite the Gorillas best efforts time ran out and the side, which had finished second at season’s end, had gone out in ‘straight sets’ on the back of injuries and a second half of the season marred by internal rumblings.
In a memorable performance from the Superoos, everybody played their part, with Watling, five-eighth Simon Maslanka, coach Jono Dallas, Clarke and second-rowers Grigg and James Gilmore among their best.
James Keelan, Mark Walsh and young halves Sam Hooper and Blair Grant had strong games for the Gorillas, while captain-coach Aaron Henry tried hard to life the visitors.