Illawarra have suffered their third-straight loss following their 36-18 loss to the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at Lottoland on Saturday afternoon.
Playing five-eighth, Luciano Leilua shrugged of a number of defenders to plant the ball down to give his side an early 4-0 advantage.
The Sea Eagles hit back in the 20th minute when Illawarra failed to defuse a bomb from half Jackson Hastings. Winger Matthew Wright collected the bouncing ball to race in for a neat four-pointer.
A short while later, Sea Eagles five-eighth Cameron Cullen burst through to score a long-range try to hand his side a 12-4 lead.
Winger Izaac Thompson showed great athleticism to put the ball down out wide, after receiving a perfect cut-out-pass from Matt Dufty thereafter to bring the scoreline back to within two points.
Cullen found himself in the action again though after he charged down and regathered an Illawarra kick to give his side handy field position. The Sea Eagles made full use of it too when Viliami Kaveinga scored.
The Sea Eagles rounded out the first half with further tries to Peter Schuster and Shaun Lane helping Blacktown to a 30-10 lead at the break
Both sides would go on to lose key personnel soon after the break with Illawarra’s Ryan Fletcher and Blacktown’s Hastings leaving the field with head knocks.
After a tight tussle to begin the second half, Illawarra would finally break the shackles in the 62nd minute when Shaun Nona toed a neat grubber into the in-goal for Patrick Herbert to score.
Leilua crossed for his second try of the afternoon soon after to give the visitors a glimpse of hope for a comeback, but that would be put to bed very quickly when Cullen scored his second try.
Blacktown's 18-point win proving to be their inaugural win in the Intrust Super Premiership.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 36 (C Cullen 2, M Wright, V Kaveinga, P Schuster, S Lane tries; J Hastings 5, J Lussick goals) defeated Illawarra 18 (L Leilua 2, I Thompson, P Herbert tries; S Nona goal) at Lottoland, Brookvale.