Lions and Magpies battle to keep up with top three

PAT CRONIN

PAT CRONIN

RUGBY LEAGUE - GROUP SEVEN

Third spot is up for grabs when reigning premiers Gerringong square off with Berry-Shoalhaven Heads on Saturday at Michael Cronin Oval.

The Lions roared back into top three contention with last week's 54-18 trouncing of Nowra-Bomaderry, boosting their premiership points tally to 18.

Berry-Shoalhaven Heads are also on 18 points after last week's 52-4 flogging from competition leaders Warilla snapped a run of six consecutive wins.

Saturday's clash is a deferred round one game and the only Group Seven fixture scheduled this weekend.

With only four rounds remaining after this weekend, both teams will be craving a win to keep pace with the top three of Warilla (29), Shellharbour (26) and Nowra-Bomaderry (20).

"It's always a good game between Berry and Gerringong," Lions captain Pat Cronin said. "They like beating us and we like beating them."

Cronin and his teammates don't need any reminding about what's at stake against the Magpies, who beat the Lions 30-22 when they met six weeks ago at Berry Showground.

"We've got the only game this week when no-one else plays and it's a good opportunity to get back into third if we win it," the rangy five-eighth said.

"Our blokes are pretty keen. Berry were pretty happy to beat us last time so we'll be looking to even it up. We had a few blokes missing that day and their blokes celebrated pretty happily after the win."

On the same day 2013 grand finalists Warilla made a statement with the drubbing of the Magpies, the Lions emphatically ended Nowra-Bomaderry's five-game winning run.

"It probably wasn't our best but it was definitely an improvement," Cronin said.

"The game was a bit quicker and it allowed us to play a little bit how we like to play."

Gerringong have contested the past four grand finals, capturing two premierships.

Cronin is confident the Lions remain hungry for continued success.

"Losing a few weeks ago to Jamberoo was disappointing because it could've put us out of it, but we've still got a pretty capable team."

"We have to make the semis first, but if we're there we'll give ourselves a chance," he said.

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