By Jake Bull
The Illawarra Cutters were narrowly defeated 24-22 by the New Zealand Warriors at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
After being rundown by the Warriors last week, it was the Cutters' chance to do that is the corresponding fixture but a relatively simple conversion went wide from Blake Wallace as the home side ran out of time.
It was the visitors who scored the first try of the game in the eighth minute when Ken Maumalo went over in the corner for a 4-0 lead.
Four minutes later the Cutters hit back when Eli Roberts managed to stay in the field of play and score in the right corner.
Despite the windy conditions, Blake Wallace added the extras for a 6-4 lead.
In the 15th minute of play the Warriors regained their lead when Glen Fisiiahi found a gap and used his pace to plant the ball down bringing them to 8-6.
Shortly before half-time Maumalo had his second when it looked like he would streak away only for Kayne Brennan to tackle the winger over the try-line as the travelling team went into the interval with a 12-6 lead.
The wind was playing havoc for both sides but it was the Warriors who were adjusting better when in the 50th minute centre Dominique Peyroux found a gap and crossed for the four-pointer as they extended their lead to 16-6.
Ken Maumalo was having a great game on the left edge and six minutes later had his third try of the afternoon.
Mason Lino was struggling with the boot as he hit the crossbar and missed but the visitors led 20-6.
With just over 15 minutes to play Maumalo completed his four try effort by again scoring in the corner to push the lead to a dangerous 24-6 scoreline.
The Cutters had their chances but in the 69th minute capitalised on one when replacement Sam Coster went over from close range.
Wallace converted to bring the game within two converted tries at 24-12.
Three minutes later the home side were in again when a grubber into the in-goal was pounced on by Junior Vaivai.
Wallace again made no mistake to make it 24-18.
The tension was high and four minutes from tim it exploded when Chris Lewis scored for the home side.
Wallace had been solid with the boot all game but the conversion next to the posts didn’t go over as the Warriors left Wollongong with the two points.
Illawarra Cutters 22. Tries: Roberts, Coster, Vaivai, Lewis. Goals: Wallace (3/4).
New Zealand Warriors 24. Tries: Maumalo (4), Fisiiahi, Peyroux. Goals: Lino (0/6).