Lions expecting Shark frenzy after loss

RUGBY LEAGUE - GROUP SEVEN

Gerringong coach Mick Cronin believes Shellharbour will be keen to make a statement in Sunday's round two battle at Ron Costello Oval.

The reigning premiers were unable to play last week's season opener against Berry-Shoalhaven Heads after torrential rain left the ground under water.

Shellharbour's game with Warilla went ahead as scheduled, but the Sharks just fell short of victory in their first Group Seven appearance in five years, going down 24-18 in enemy territory.

The Lions expect the Sharks to be fired up on home turf.

"I'd say they would be," Cronin said.

"They're going to be tough. They've come back and they're going to want to do well, especially coming off a loss. We'll have no excuses for not turning up.

"I think most people would say Warilla's the side to beat because they've improved and added a few since last year, and there wasn't a lot in that game last week, so Shellharbour will be looking for a win. Hopefully we will be too."

Gerringong have been the competition's most successful side in recent years, appearing in four straight grand finals and capturing two premierships.

Last year the Lions beat Warilla in the grand final on Brad Davidson's last-second field goal. Cronin hasn't detected any signs of a premiership hangover.

"They've kept turning up every other year. They've won two and lost two. They're just young blokes who turn up up and keen to play," he said.

"Nine or 10 of them are under 23, and three of those blokes have played in four straight grand finals."

Gerringong are unlikely to have back-rower Michael Brown this season because of a long-term shoulder injury. Davidson has been named captain after the retirement of two-time premiership-winning skipper Ryan Staples.

Cronin said last week's game against Berry couldn't have gone ahead.

"With all that rain we had, we had no choice in the end," he said.

GROUP SEVEN

Round two

Saturday

NOWRA-BOMADERRY v JAMBEROO (6pm), Nowra Showground

Sunday

PORT KEMBLA v MILTON-ULLADULLA (2.45pm), Noel Mulligan Oval

SHELLHARBOUR CITY v GERRINGONG (2.45pm), Ron Costello Oval

Bye: Berry, Albion Park-Oak Flats

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