Mounties have dominated the Illawarra Cutters 50-16 in their Intrust Super Premiership NSW match at WIN Stadium this afternoon.
Mounties winger Kato Ottio scored a hat-trick in the big win, while injuries to both Sebastine Ikahihifo and Kurt Mann made it an afternoon to forget for the Cutters.
The Mounties had an early chance when Eddie Aiono found space down the left flank but strong defence by Izaac Thompson and Drew Hutchinson forced a mistake.
Mounties came up with big defence of their own from the ensuing set to force an error and had a great opportunity 30 metres out.
They converted this into points when Clay Priest burst onto a short ball and went in for the opening try. Sam Williams converted to make it 6-0 after seven minutes.
The Cutters suffered a double blow when hooker Blake Wallace and centre Kurt Mann were forced from the field through injury.
In the 20th minute the Mounties failed to deal with a Hutchinson grubber and replacement hooker Sam Coster pounced for the try. Nona converted from in front to tie it up at 6-all.
With 16 minutes remaining in the half Mounties hit the lead, when second-rower Jarrad Kennedy showed great strength to power through the defence to score. Williams addded the extras and the Mounties led 12-6.
The Mounties made it back-to-back tries shortly after when prop Mitch Kennedy crahed through soft Cutters defence to score under the posts. Williams made no mistake to give the Mounties a handy lead at 18-16 with 10 minutes left in the half.
The one-sided half continued in the 33rd minute when Mounties five eighth Lachlan Croker burst free down the left side and drew the fullback before putting his fullback Zac Santo away for the try. Williams converted to make it 24-6.
The Cutters scored a timely try when five-eighth Shaun Nona stepped off his right and dived over for a simple try. Nona converted his own try to make it 24-12 in the shadows of halftime.
Mounties suffered an early setback in the second half when a Williams kick went out on the full.
A bizarre passage of play saw Mounties make a big break through Mitch Kennedy only to be tackled by his own player. Then from a Mounties kick the Cutters made a break but a loose pass saw the Mounties on the attack again and winger Kato Ottio scored. Williams’ conversion made it 30-12 with half an hour left to play.
The Cutters nearly hit back with a sweeping backline move that saw winger Corey Brown in the clear but he dropped the pass with the line wide open.
Sam Duggan scored the Mounties’ sixth try of the match and Sam Williams continued his perfect say with the boot to make it 36-12 after 57 minutes.
As the half wore on, Mounties continued to win the forward battle and the Cutters halves Hutchinson and Nona had struggled to have any impact on the match.
Adam Clydesdale made it try number seven for Mounties with 16 minutes left and Williams made it seven goals from seven attempts as Mounties led 42-12.
The Cutters compounded their woes by kicking it out on the full from the kick off to put their fragile defence under even more pressure.
A Taane Milne error coming out of his own end gave Mounties yet another opportunity to post points with just over 10 minutes remaining.
In the 70th minute the Mounties found the Cutters short on their left flank and a long pass found Ottio who dived over for his second try. Williams could not convert for the first time in the match and Mounties led 46-12.
Just minutes later the Cutters’ left edge was exposed again and Ottio strolled over out wide for a well-execxuted team try to bring up the half century. Williams couldn't convert but the Mounties had this one all sewn up, leading 50-12 with five minutes left.
A consolation try to the Cutters courtesy of Andrew McCarthy in the 80th minute rounded out the scoring.
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