By Trent Thomas
The Illawarra Cutters notched their first win of the season in a 50-12 victory over the North Sydney Bears at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
The Cutters displayed a vastly improved kicking game in the dominant performance due in part to the inclusion of halfback Shannon Crook, who was also aided by strong performance by his scrum base partner Kris Keating.
It did not take long for the Cutters to get on the board with Junior Vaivai, in his first outing for the team this season, crossing in the fifth minute of play.
Crook was on strike with his conversion.
Vaivai followed it up with a second try in the 10th minute to stretch the Cutters lead to 10-0.
Winger Tyron Cranston continued the strong start for The Cutters as he crossed in the 17th minute to bring the sides lead to 14-0.
Crook converted again to make it 16-0.
In the 20th minute the Bears where able to hit back through Sam Manulelua who scooped up a loose ball close to the try line.
In the 31st minute the Cutters re-gained control of the game through fullback Justin Hunt who got his first of three tries to give the Cutters a 20-6 lead.
Crook converted to make it 22-6.
The Cutters finished out the first half with a try in the 39th minute to Adam Tuimave-Gerard who gave the Cutters a 26-6 lead going into the second half.
While the Cutters had established a firm lead, the Bears where able to score first in the second half in the 50th minute when Jack Gosiewski barged over close to the line to cut the lead down to 26-12.
The Cutters where able to put the game beyond reach for North Sydney with two tries to Kris Keating, and Justin Hunt completing his hat trick with two tries in the final 5 minutes.
With Justin Hunts 79th minute try the side was able to bring up their half century as the siren sounded shortly after.
Illawarra Cutters: 50. Tries: Hunt (3), Vaivai (2), Keating (2), Cranston, Tuimavave-Gerard. Goals: Crook (7/11).
North Sydney Bears: 12. Tries: Manuleleva, Gosiewski. Goals: Roberts (2/2).