By Jake Bull
The Illawarra Cutters finished strongly but eventually went down 44-28 to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
It was always going to be a tough ask for the home side as they went into the half-time break down 30-0.
The first points of the game came early, in the third minute, when forward Brad Clark darted from dummy-half to get the visitors, and the games, first points.
Chase Stanley added the two points for a 6-0 lead.
The Bulldogs were next to score again when a flick pass ended with Stanley finding the line on ten minutes.
He converted his own try to push the lead out to 12-0.
The Bulldogs had all the momentum and were making the most of it when in the 24th minute Corey Thompson received the ball out wide and stepped inside to score his sides’ third try.
Stanley was having a great start with the boot and pushed the lead out to 18-0.
The game was quickly getting out of the home sides grasps and in the 29th minute it got worse.
An outstretching Makahesi Makatoa managed to put the ball on the line.
Stanley added the extras for a 24-0 lead.
Right on the stroke of half-time the Bulldogs went the length of the field which ended with a Tyrone Phillips try.
Chase Stanley made it five from five and gave his side a 30-0 half-time lead.
The second half started in the same fashion as the first half when Corey Thompson got his second of the game out wide.
The goalkicking from Stanley was faultless as the lead pushed out to 36-0.
From the very next set the visitors went the length of the field as Tyrone Phillips got his second of the game to all but end the home sides’ chances.
Chase Stanley kicked his seventh straight conversion to make the scoreline 42-0.
However, with twenty minutes remaining the Cutters would get their first points of the game when Shannon Wakeman was put through a massive hole to score.
Shannon Crook converted to bring the game to 42-6.
Five minutes later the home side and Wakeman had their second when a cross-field kick was batted down to the forward who powered his way over.
Crook added another two points to reduce the gap to 42-12.
In the 68th minute, the Cutters had their third straight when the ball was shifted out to the right and ended with Yaw Kiti Glymin scoring in the corner to make the scoreline 42-16.
The Bulldogs couldn’t touch the ball at this point and in the 72nd minute Kayne Brennan scored in the other corner.
Shannon Crook found his range again as the lead was cut to 20 as the score read 42-22.
With six minutes remaining in the game, the Cutters were in again. This time it was a long range effort that finished with Justin Hunt scoring under the posts.
An easy conversion for the halfback meant it was a tense last few minutes at 42-28.
A late penalty goal for the Bulldogs to Dane Chisholm ended the comeback as the visitors held on for a 44-28 victory.
Illawarra Cutters 28. Tries: Wakeman (2), Glymin, Brennan, Hunt. Goals: Crook (4/5).
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 44. Tries: Thompson (2), Phillips (2), Stanley, Clark, Makatoa. Goals: Stanley (7/7) Chisholm (1/1).