Wests Tigers Intrust Super Premiership side have gone down 36-8 to Illawarra RLFC in an entertaining game of football tonight at WIN Stadium in Wollongoing.
Heading in to the match after a week off for the bye, David Heath's side had plenty of chances to trouble the home side in cold conditions on the South Coast but were unable to land the killer blow on a number of occasions, allowing Illawarra to emerge with a comfortable win.
With the match delayed for 20 minutes due to a serious injury in the prior match, Illawarra wasted no time once the game kicked off with Izaac Thompson crossing in the opening minute.
Patrick Herbert soon doubled the home side's lead just six minutes later, with Shaun Nona converting both tries to give Illawarra a 12-0 advantage after just seven minutes of play.
Wests Tigers would hit back in the 17th minute when Toa Mata'afa crossed for a try on his Intrust Super Premiership debut, with Jordan Rankin unable to convert from out wide.
Thompson would continue his superb start to the match shortly after — crossing for his second and third tries in quick succession — to give Illawarra a commanding 20-4 lead.
Nona was unable to convert on both occasions, leaving the match somewhat in the balance, before Jacob Hind crossed for a crucial four-pointer right on half-time to take the score to 26-4.
Hind would add a second shortly after the break to blow the scoreline out even further, with Nona's fourth conversion of the night extending the home side's lead out to 32-4.
Wests Tigers would continue to battle away gamely despite the deficit, but could not cross despite a number of chances in the second half — giving Illawarra the chance to cross for their seventh try of the night in the 61st minute when talented youngster Matt Dufty showed too much speed to touch down.
Nona was unable to convert, leaving the scoreline at 36-4, before Wests Tigers co-captain Nathan Milone crossed for his second try in as many weeks in the 74th minute to make it 36-8.
Wests Tigers will look to end a run of three consecutive defeats when they take on the Wyong Roos next Sunday, June 11 as part of a three-game program at Campbelltown Stadium.
Illawarra RLFC 36 (Thompson 3, Hind 2, Herbert, Dufty tries; Nona 4/7 goals) def. Wests Tigers 8 (Mata'afa, Milone tries; Rankin 0/2 goals) at WIN Stadium, Wollongong
TEAM LIST | 1. Watson Heleta 2. Ryland Jacobs 3. Nathan Milone 21. Christian Yassmin 5. Toa Mata'afa 6. Bayley Sironen 7. Jordan Rankin 8. Darcy Cox 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Wesley Lolo 11. Luke Garner 12. Jackson Williams 13. Matt Eisenhuth (Interchange: 14. Jack Wheelhouse 15. Junior Tatola 16. Jordan Grant 17. Jaleel Seve-Derbas)