By Tony Dosen (NSWRL.com.au)
The Illawarra Cutters were 42-6 winners over the North Sydney Bears at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.
The Cutters won the match in a dominant first half where they blitzed the Bears with a clinical display in attack in setting up a commanding 28-nil half time lead.
Things got off to a poor start for the Bears in just the third minute when fullback Latrell Schaumkel slipped when fielding a high mid field bomb.
Cutters half Drew Hutchison picked up the bouncing ball and sent Irish international Tyrone McCarthy away to score the first try next to the posts.
Levi Dodd converted and the Cutters led 6-nil.
Hutchison then scored close to the uprights from a superb Shannon Wakeman offload in a Bears two man tackle five minutes later to double the Cutters lead to 12-nil with Dodd’s simple conversion.
A terrible mix up between Schaumkel and centre Sifa Talakai from a Hutchison grubber kick in the 18th minute saw Cutters half Josh McCrone pick up the loose ball to score the simplest of tries.
Dodd again converted and the Cutters were up with the clock at 18-nil.
By this stage, the Bears were shell-shocked by the ease of which the Cutters forwards were laying a platform through the middle.
This was typified by Wakeman powering through three insipid Bears tackles after taking a pass from a penalty tap inside the Bears’ defensive 20 metre area in the 22nd minute to score.
Dodd landed another simple conversion and Illawarra led 24-nil.
A superbly placed cross field kick from Hutchison in the 28th minute bounced up beautifully for winger Mitch Porter to score to blow out the Cutters’ lead to 28-nil.
The Bears finally had some football at the end of the first half to play with, but were ineffective in attack and made no impression on the Cutters’ lead before the half time break.
After a flat start to the second half, Cutters winger Kalifa Faifai Loa finished off a right side overlap 10 minutes into the second half to rule out a Bears miracle comeback at 32-nil.
The match then degenerated into a scrappy affair in the second half as the Cutters were easily able to defend the disjointed attack that the Bears offered up to them.
After a long break from Faifai Loa in the 68th minute saw Bears interchange back Cameron Murray sin binned by referee Jon Stone for a professional foul after making the cover defensive tackle, Porter burst through some more inept Bears defence from the penalty to score his second try under the posts.
Shaun Nona converted to extend the Illawarra lead out to 38-nil.
The Bears saved a total shut out with three minutes to play when Murray returned from the sin bin to follow up an Eli Levido grubber in behind the Cutters defence to score Norths’ only try.
Levido converted from near touch to have the Bears on the board at 38-6.
As the full time siren sounded, a Levido chip kick from the last tackle of the match was brilliantly caught by Dodd, who raced 65 metres to score the last try of the match and close out the emphatic 42-6 win.
Illawarra Cutters 42. Tries: Porter (2), Faifai Loa, Dodd, Hutchison, McCrone, Wakeman, McCarthy. Goals: Nona (1/3), Dodd (4/5), Penalty Goal: Faifai Loa (0/1).
North Sydney Bears 6. Try: Murray. Goal: Levido (1/1).