Illawarra's ISP premiership defence is over after suffering a 32-14 loss to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Sunday afternoon.
The precedent was unfortunately set from the get-go when Jai Field dropped the kick-off, although Illawarra showed plenty of gusto to prevent the Bulldogs scoring early.
In fact, Illawarra secured the early points in their first string of possession in the seventh minute through Patrick Herbert out wide.
Field made up for his earlier error when he broke through the Bulldogs' defence midway through the first half; it would lead to Illawarra's second try via Izaac Thompson when he scored on the next play on the other side of the field.
Another Illawarra error from the pursuing kick-off allowed the Bulldogs to score in the 26th minute through skipper Tyrone Phillips.
Illawarra's two-point lead at half-time was short-lived as Bulldogs winger Tom Carr intercepted a Matt Dufty pass and ran 90 metres to score in the 43rd minute.
Two more Bulldogs tries to Lachlan Lewis and Brad Abbey quickly followed as Illawarra starred down the barrel of a 16-point deficit.
An ugly kick from Dufty paid dividends in the 65th minute for Jordan Pereira who was the recipient of a four-pointer out wide.
The Bulldogs extended their lead via a Rhyse Martin penalty goal soon after before Abbey's second try rounded out Illawarra's 18-point defeat and consequential elimination.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 32 (Brad Abbey 2, Tyrone Phillips, Tom Carr, Lachlan Lewis tries; Rhyse Martin 6 goals) defeated Illawarra 14 (Patrick Herbert, Izaac Thompson, Jordan Pereira tries; Jai Field 1 goal) at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah. Half-time: Illawarra 8-6.