Gerringong Lions back in pack as they chase another title

Lions Rixon Russell and Ryan Staples after winning the Group Seven grand final last year. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Lions Rixon Russell and Ryan Staples after winning the Group Seven grand final last year. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

RUGBY LEAGUE

Two premierships from four successive grand final appearances reads as a Melbourne Storm-like strike rate, but the Gerringong Lions will have to chase a third title the hard way.

The Lions are usually enjoying the view from the top of the ladder at this time of year.

But Warilla and Shellharbour have set the pace, leaving Gerringong in a five-way battle for the final three spots in the play-offs.

"It's unfamiliar territory for us," Lions halfback Rixon Russell said.

"The past few years we've been up there in first or second, but we know the next month of games are must-win, and I'm pretty confident we can win them. If we win these next four, that can set up the rest of our year in a pretty good spot."

Gerringong share fifth spot with Berry-Shoalhaven Heads in one of the more intriguing finals races in recent years.

Russell believes the Lions's big-game experience will be a key ingredient in their pursuit of a third title in five years.

"A lot of us have been there before and we all know what it takes to win these types of games, so when the going gets tough, we sit back and relax because we all know our jobs," he said.

The Lions face seventh-placed Jamberoo on Saturday at Kevin Walsh Oval.

"They've got a big day with their sponsor's day, so I'm sure they'll come out firing and looking to earn a bit of respect. It's an important game for us and hopefully we'll get over the top of them," Russell said.

"I think the bye came at a wrong time for us, but everyone's keen and raring to go at training, so I'm sure if we put that on the field we'll start winning a few again."

Last-placed Port Kembla host top-ranked Warilla in Saturday's other game.

The Gorillas lost for the first time last week, going down by two points at home to Albion Park-Oak Flats.

Nowra Bomaderry will get a clearer understanding of where they stand when they play Shellharbour at Nowra Showground on Sunday.

The Jets have soared to third spot with a string of wins, while second-placed Shellharbour are eyeing a minor premiership in their first Group Seven season in five years.

Albion Park-Oak Flats take on Kiama at Centenary Field and Berry-Shoalhaven Heads meet Milton-Ulladulla at Berry Showground.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop