The Illawarra Cutters were defeated 34-10 by the Newcastle Knights to bow-out of the NSW Cup Finals at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
The Cutters notched only the two tries in the NSW Cup Preliminary Final encounter but it was not enough to progress from the penultimate round.
The Knights entered the encounter fresh from their bye round to face the Cutters who were coming off an important win against the New Zealand Warriors last round.
The Knights were the quickest off the mark when play commenced with a try to winger Josh Mantellato off fullback Nathan Ross’ cut-out pass putting them in good stead early on.
The Knights flanker banked his second of the encounter shortly thereafter in a carbon-copy of his earlier effort.
Knights halfback Michael Dobson converted to make it 10-0.
The Knights continued applying the pressure and Mantellato secured his hat trick of tries in the 15th minute.
Dobson converted to make it 16-0.
The Cutters however rallied and struck back through centre Geoff Daniela who managed to run through the opposition’s broken defensive line on the left edge.
Yet the Knighted reasserted their points-advantage through prop Pat Vaivai who barged over from short-range to make it 20-4.
Mantellato converted to make it 22-4.
The Cutters came out following the interval intent on mounting a comeback and despite some early defensive work found themselves leaking a fifth try in the 52nd minute.
Knights hooker Chad Redman was the perpetrator after a smart dummy-movement got him over the stripe.
Mantellato converted to make it 28-4.
Knights winger Chanel Mata’utia etched his name on the score sheet after benefiting from a Cutters’ error near after the hour mark.
Mantellato converted to make it 34-4.
However, the Cutters managed to nab a try through Tyron Cranston in the 65th minute.
Cutters five-eighth Sam Duggan converted to make it 24-10.
The Cutters offered up some creative plays and plenty of offloads throughout the encounter but it was not enough for the team to progress to the NSW Cup Grand Finals.
Illawarra Cutters 10. Tries: Daniela, Cranston. Goals: Stanley (0/1), Duggan (1/1).
Newcastle Knights 34. Tries: Mantellato (3), Vaivai, Redman, C Mata'utia. Goals: Dobson (2/3), Mantellato (3/3).