The Illawarra Cutters retained the Tom Kirk Cup with a 28-14 win over the Newtown Jets at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
The Cutters put the sword to the Jets early, scoring after just six minutes through centre Taane Milne, off the back of a repeat set forced by halfback Drew Hutchison.
Despite Hutchison continuing to pin Newtown down their own end of the park, poor ball handling from the Cutters allowed the Jets to get on the scoreboard shortly after.
A lack of possession due to errors and penalties in the middle quarter gifted the Jets good field position, with the visitors making no mistake in turning the opportunities into points, with Fa’amanu Brown grabbing a double.
It looked like the Jets would take a 14-6 lead into the break, until Cutters Sebastiane Ikahihifo freed his arm from some strong Jets defence to offload to Peter Mata'Utai who scored on the half-time siren.
The Cutters came out firing off the back of the late first half momentum.
Off the back of broken play, front rower Jacob Hind put a kick in on the last tackle, leading the chase to capture Jet's fullback Mitch Brown in-goal, securing his side a repeat set.
Moments later, rake Sam Coster took advantage of some lazy marker defence close to the line, burrowing his way over to score the Cutters third four pointer.
With Fa'amanu Brown coming off after the Coster try, the Jets noticeably lacked energy and direction in attack.
The two sides become involved in some push and shove midway through the second stanza, with the Jets Anthony Moraitis and Cutters Taane Milne, given ten minutes for their role in the altercation.
From this point, the game started to open up for the scarlet and red, with fullback Peter Mata'Utai showing dazzling footwork to score his second of the afternoon.
Nona made no mistake with the kick to give his side an eight point lead.
Mata’utai continued his influence on the game, setting up Levi Dodd in the 74th minute, before a penalty goal from Nona with two minutes remaining saw the Cutters bag a 28-14 win, and additionally retain the Tom Kirk Cup.
Illawarra Cutters: 28. Tries: Dodd, Milne, Mann, Mata'utia, Coster. Goals: Nona (4/5).
Newtown Jets: 14. Tries: Brown (2), Robinson. Goals: Brown (1/3).