Illawarra have suffered a 28-14 loss to the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland on Saturday afternoon.
A new-look Illawarra side took to the pitch and were in the battle for much of the contest, however poor errors and the rub of the green didn’t favour the scarlet and whites.
The Warriors opened their account early with a try to Mitch Alwood, who dived on a grubber kick in the in-goal, giving his team the perfect start.
Illawarra hit back prior to the 20 minute mark through hooker Reece Robson, before the hosts raced in for two more tries courtesy of Fetalaiga Pauga and Sam Cook to give them a 16-4 lead at the intermission.
Will Matthews got Illawarra back into the contest early in the second half when he collected a neat kick off Clune’s boot.
Warriors hit back a short while later through Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Pauga, who bagged his double, to extend their lead heading into the final ten minutes.
Kalifa Faifai Loa scored a consolation try in the shadows of full time to round out the scoring, with his side suffering a hard-fought 28-14 loss.