Wests Tigers Intrust Super Premiership side have gone down 31-18 to the Illawarra Cutters in their Round 6 clash this afternoon at Campbelltown Stadium.
Despite trailing 10-0 early in the match, Wests Tigers rallied back to lead 18-10 at the half-time break, before a strong second half for the visitors and poor completions from the home side allowed Illawarra to re-take the lead and post a 13-point win in the end.
With the home side struggling to complete their sets early, it was the visitors who grabbed first points after 19 minutes when Levi Dodd got on the outside of Chance Peni to score. Shaun Nona was unable to convert from close to the touchline, but the playmaker would soon make up for his error with a wonderful face ball minutes later that saw Dodd cross for his second and give Illawarra a somewhat surprising 10-0 lead.
Trailing 10-0, Coach Paul Stringer looked to his bench to provide some impact as Wes Lolo, Dallas Graham and Jordan Grant began to work Wests Tigers down field.
Their impact would soon be felt as a deft kick from Josh Drinkwater found Manaia Cherrington backing up on the inside for a simple try under the posts after 31 minutes.
Drinkwater would make no mistake with the conversion from in front, and would soon give Wests Tigers the lead as he took the line on and wrestled his way over out wide.
His successful conversion would give Wests Tigers a 12-10 lead after 36 minutes.
It appeared the score would remain that way heading into half-time, before a strong run from Jack Littlejohn just before the break found Jeremy Marshall-King supporting in-field, with the replacement fullback sprinting away to score under the posts.
Drinkwater’s easy conversion would take Wests Tigers’ lead to 18-10 at half-time.
Despite not to led the match slip away from them, Illawarra would begin the second half in ideal fashion, with Andrew McCarthy finding space down the left edge to crash over.
Nona was unable to convert from out wide, leaving the score at 18-14 after 44 minutes.
With the game in the balance, the visitors would be forced to dig deep when forward Sam Coster was sent to the sin-bin following a professional foul after 55 minutes.
However, despite being a man down, Illawarra would find a way to take the lead, with prop Shannon Wakeman spinning his way over next to the posts, allowing Nona the simple conversion to give his side a 20-18 advantage after 63 minutes of play.
The visitors would pull even further in front on 68 minutes when a clever kick from Adam Quinlan found Tyrone McCarthy on the wing for another four-pointer.
Nona was unable to add the all-important two points, however, leaving the match in the balance at 24-18 with less than 10 minutes remaining at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Illawarra would seal the result in the 73rd minute when a good face ball found Hame Sele under the posts, with Nona’s conversion taking the scoreline out to 30-18.
Drew Hutchinson would add a field goal as time expired to cap off a 31-18 victory.
INTRUST SUPER PREMIERSHIP FULL TIME — Illawarra Cutters 31 (Dodd 2, A.McCarthy, Wakeman, T.McCarthy, Sele tries; Nona 3/5 goals, Hutchinson field goal) def. Wests Tigers 18 (Cherrington, Drinkwater, Marshall-King tries; Drinkwater 3/3 goals)