By Nathan Beuman at WIN Jubilee Oval
The Illawarra Cutters have continued their scintillating form of late, defeating the Newcastle Knights 26-0 in a one sided affair at WIN Jubilee Oval.
Thanks largely to a dominant forwards display from the likes of Rory O’Brien and Shannon Wakeman, the Cutters were able to surge out to and early lead, before suffocating the Knights with solid defence.
The Knights got off to a shocking start to the game, when Pat Vaivai knocked the ball on from the opening kick-off, gifting Illawarra a full set three metres out from the Newcastle line, before a wrap around play by Kyle Eather put Tyron Cranston in in the right corner for his first of the afternoon.
With Sam Duggan going one for ten with the boot last weekend at Brookvale Oval, Kyle Stanley took over the kicking duties, but missed his first conversion, leaving the score at 4-0 after just three minutes.
The Cutters were keen to add to the scoreboard soon after, turning great field position into points, when 19 year old Drew Hutchinson threw a looping cut-out pass to Cranston, who went in for his sixth try in the last seven days.
In almost an identical position to the first conversion, Stanley’s kick was once again waved away, making the score 8-0 after nine minutes.
The home side were in again moments later, when Nathan Smith somehow managed to get his arm free to flick the ball out the back to Yaw Kiti Glymin on the left wing, who had no trouble securing the Cutters third try in the opening ten minutes.
Stanley corrected his poor start with the boot, slotting his third attempt from the opposite sideline to give Illawarra a 14-0 lead after just 12 minutes.
Just when the Knights looked as though they were going to post their first points of the afternoon, Kyle Eather somehow managed to strip the ball free of Newcastle halfback Matt Minto in the in-goal.
It didn’t take long for the Cutter to make the Knights pay though, with a chest pass from Nathan Green to a flying Kyle Eather putting the fullback in under the posts.
With Kyle Stanley off the field, Tyron Cranston took over the kicking duties, slotting the conversion from directly in front to give Illawarra a 20-0 lead after 28 minutes.
Eather almost went in for his second try of the game just before half time, but was dragged down from behind by some desperate Newcastle defence.
Despite a number of chances for both sides after the break, it took a pass from Hutchinson to Green three minutes before full time to break the stalemate, with the captain able to get his arm free to slam it down despite defenders hanging off him.
Sam Duggan took back the kicking duties, slotting the kick from out wide to secure the Cutters third straight win.
The win sees Illawarra hold onto fourth position on the competition table, while the loss leaves Newcastle hanging on to eighth position.
This weekend the Cutters will head to Belmore to take on the Bulldogs while the Knights head to Brooky to take on Manly.
Illawarra Cutters 26 (T Cranston 2, K Eather, Y Glymin, N Green tries; S Duggan, T Cranston, K Stanley goals) def. Newcastle Knights 0 at WIN Jubilee Oval.