Cutters Continue Finals Momentum
The Illawarra Cutters defeated the New Zealand Warriors 29-12 in the NSW Cup Finals Week 2 fixture at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
The victory means the Cutters now face the Newcastle Knights having qualified for the NSW Cup Finals Week 3 fixture at the same venue next Sunday.
In a game that was evenly poised for a large part of the game, a late flurry at the end saw the Cutters run away with the win.
In the 12th minute Warriors Prop Sam Lousi powered over from close range, taking four Cutters defenders with him.
Sam Cook converted to give Warriors an early 6-0 lead.
The Cutters hit back five minutes later when a break saw Shannon Wakeman streak away to score.
Sam Duggan added the extras to tie the game at 6-6.
Both sides had their chances in the remaining minutes of the first half but neither side could breach the try line as both sides went into the break at 6-6.
In the 48th minute, a shift from right to left saw Tyrone Cranston acrobatically score in the corner.
The Warriors took back their lead almost instantly when second-rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner received the ball on the back of two offloads and scored.
Cook added the extras as Warriors lead 12-10.
Everything was happening in five minute intervals as the Cutters scored again through Peter Mata’utia after some slick play from the backline.
It was back-to-back tries for Illawarra when Shannon Wakeman burst through a gap and ran around a defender to score out wide and give them an 18-12 lead.
With seven minutes to go in the game Sam Duggan slotted a field goal to extend the Cutters lead to 19-12.
In the 73rd minute, Illawarra found the white stripe again when late-inclusion Charly Runciman finished off another great play by Kyle Eather.
In the final play of the game Will Matthews crossed for his first of the game and put the final touches on a win for the Cutters.
Sam Duggan kicked the goal for a 29-12 victory and a match against the Newcastle Knights in the preliminary final.
Illawarra Cutters 29. Tries: Wakeman (2), Cranston, Mata’utia, Runciman, Matthews. Goals Duggan (2/6) Field Goal: Duggan (1/1).
New Zealand Warriors 12 Tries: Lousi, Faitala-Mariner Goals Cook (2/2).