Wests Tigers NSW Cup side have suffered another tough loss this morning, going down 24-14 to the Illawarra Cutters in their Round 7 clash at Campbelltown.
Trailing 10-0 early in the match, the hosts showed plenty of promise before half-time and again after the break — with Tim Moltzen scoring his first try since returning from injury — but they were unable to hold out Illawarra, who emerged with a 10-point win.
After dominating possession and field position early, it was the Cutters who struck first in the seventh minute when a flat ball from dummy half found Shannon Wakeman, who spun his way over the line to score next to the posts. Tyron Cranston had no problems with the extras and gave the visitors an early 6-0 lead at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
A 40/20 kick from Kris Keating shortly after gave Illawarra a chance to extend their lead and they did just that in the 18th minute as a ball to ground found Yaw Kiti Glymin, who sped down the wing to touch down in the corner and push the lead to 10-0.
Cranston was unable to convert from the sideline, leaving the Cutters’ lead at 10-0.
The inclusion of Matt Lodge and Jordan Grant off the interchange saw Wests Tigers lift their intensity and potency in the middle of the field and that soon produced points as Penani Manumalealii and Delouise Hoeter combined well to put Kurtis Rowe over.
Josh Drinkwater was unable to convert, leaving the score at 10-4 after 27 minutes.
Both teams would see opportunities go begging before the break, with the best chance coming to Inno Inosesio, who spilled the ball over the line after a good offload from Lodge had given him the opportunity to level the match after 35 minutes.
That would prove to be costly for the home side as the Cutters quickly went up field and crossed moments before the half-time siren, with Keating diving over next to the posts.
Shannon Crook had no problems with the extras and extended the visitors’ lead to 16-4, which is how it would read as both teams went to the sheds at Campbelltown Stadium.
Needing to make some inroads on the scoreboard, Wests Tigers started the stronger in the second half with a number of close opportunities through Inosesio and Rowe, but were unable to make them count as the Cutters’ defensive line held firm.
An infringement on the dummy half would give Crook the opportunity to push his side further in front in the 61st minute, and he did just that, extending their lead to 18-4.
However, that would not last long, as a sharp grubber from Drinkwater close to the line saw Moltzen dive over to score his first try of the 2015 season.
An unsuccessful conversion from Drinkwater left the score at 18-8 after 64 minutes.
Illawarra added another penalty goal in the 69th minute following another ruck infringement to extend their lead to 20-8, and they would put the icing on the cake moments later as Charly Runciman scored off a grubber from Keating that split Shannon McDonnell and Hoeter to extend the visitors lead to 24-8 after 74 minutes.
Lodge would cross for a consolation try in the 77th minute as he charged on to a good short ball close to the line, but it would be all in vain for the hosts, as Illawarra held on to emerge from Campbelltown Sports Stadium with a 24-14 victory on the day.
Wests Tigers will look to bounce back with a win when they take on the Wentworthville Magpies in their Round 8 match on Sunday, April 26 at Ringrose Park.
FULL TIME — Illawarra Cutters 24 (Wakeman, Glymin, Keating, Runciman tries; Cranston 1/2 goals; Crook 3/3 goals) def. Wests Tigers 14 (Rowe, Moltzen, Lodge tries; Drinkwater 1/3 goals)