Gerringong and Warilla set for grand final replay

PETER HOOPER

PETER HOOPER

RUGBY LEAGUE - GROUP SEVEN

Warilla coach Peter Hooper expects Saturday's road clash with Gerringong to deliver a thriller along the lines of last year's epic grand final.

Gerringong pipped the Gorillas 14-13 in the 2013 decider, as playmaker Brad Davidson kicked a game-tying field goal in regulation and the winning field goal in extra time.

Warilla have been entrenched in top spot throughout 2014, while the third-placed Lions have overcome a poor run of form a month ago to be right back in the premiership hunt.

They have been the standout clubs over the past five years and Hooper predicts another classic battle on Saturday.

"It's a great game of footy every time we play one another," he said.

"We know they're going to play for 80 minutes and they know we're going to play for 80 minutes. I'm sure it'll take 80 minutes to find a winner on Saturday."

The Gorillas were unbeaten until a shock 24-22 loss to Albion Park-Oak Flats in round 14. They have rediscovered their thirst for winning in the past fortnight with heavy defeats of Berry-Shoalhaven Heads and Milton-Ulladulla.

"A couple of weeks ago we turned the corner when we played Berry. Our attitude has been great," Hooper said.

"We've probably had an eye on this game to test ourselves, and it's an exciting part of the year.

"I haven't seen Gerringong play lately, but looking at the program, they've reverted back to the same way they played last year I think. Joel Roberts has gone to the back and Rixon Russell is at halfback, and that seems to be the right balance for them as a side. If you have a look at their last few results they've been outstanding."

The Gorillas are gradually getting back to full strength. The only players missing from the top squad are Beau Sewell and Nick Lazerevski.

"We've got a tough run home, which suits us coming into the semis," Hooper said.

Berry-Shoalhaven Heads host Jamberoo in a game which will go a long way towards deciding fifth spot.

The Superoos (19 points) have their noses in front of the Magpies (18) after last week's comfortable win over Albion Park-Oak Flats.

Berry had won seven games on-the-trot before losing three straight. They conceded a combined 160 points in those losses and scored just 14.

Kiama are desperate to halt a six-game losing slump when they meet Milton-Ulladulla on Sunday at Kiama Showground.

A win for the Knights would revive their fading finals hopes.

Port Kembla plan on giving Shellharbour a run for their money at Noel Mulligan Oval, while Albion Park-Oak Flats will have to play well to defend their home turf against Nowra-Bomaderry.

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