By Blake Edwards
The Illawarra Cutters were defeated 12-8 by the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland on Saturday.
The defeat ended the Cutters recent five-week winning streak but did allow the opportunity for both Patrick Herbert (Junior Kiwis) and Luciano Leilua (Auatralian Schoolboys) the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the NSW Cup competition.
It was the third time in four weeks that the Warriors had been involved in an arm wrestle after beating the Newcastle Knights 34-32, losing to Wests Tigers 16-18 prior to taking out the low-scoring affair.
It had been clear from the outset that the fixture would be a grinding affair with neither side able to break through in the opening quarter, although the Warriors applied ample goal-line heat in the early stages off the back of an ill disciplined start by the visitors.
It was the 23rd minute before the deadlock was broken with prop Dunamis Lui going across for a try.
Cutters centre Levi Dodd converted to make it 6-0
The Warriors returned serve in the 35th minute when forward Jazz Tevaga went over from close range following a great break by Hingano.
Mason Lino converted to leave the teams level 6-6 at the break.
The visitors nudged ahead 8-6 with a Dodd penalty in the 53rd minute and there the score stayed closing in on the last 10 minutes.
The Warriors had not been able to crack the defensive line of the Cutters, so the playmakers opted for short cross field kicks, which in turn eventually created the breakthrough for the homeside with winger Viliami Kaveingag outleaping Cutters flyer Tom Carr, to go over in the corner.
Lino’s conversion was successful giving the Warriors the four point lead and ultimately the win.
Illawarra Cutters 8. Tries: Lui. Goal: Dodd (1/1). Penalty Goal: Dodd (1/1).
New Zealand Warriors 12. Tries: Teyaga, Kaveingag. Goals: Lino (2/2).