Cutters bow out
Illawarra Mercury 22/09/2014
The Illawarra Cutters' season came to a close in disappointing fashion.
The Wollongong outfit was outplayed by a strong Newcastle at Leichhardt Oval to lose Sunday's NSW Cup preliminary final.
It was a masterclass from Knights winger Josh Mantellato that had the Cutters under the pump early on and they couldn't recover from a slow start.
Mantellato crossed the line five minutes in and had bagged a hat-trick by the 15th minute as Illawarra's wide defenders struggled.
Geoff Daniela crossed for the Cutters in the 20th minute but the Knights had shot out to an 18-point lead by half-time.
Knights pair Chad Redman and Chanel Mata'utia extended Newcastle's lead after the break.
Tyrone Cranston produced some fancy footwork to score a consolation try for the Cutters in the 64th minute but it was too little, too late.
Newcastle won the game 34-10 to spell an end to Illawarra's campaign under coach Scott Logan.
Knights five-eighth Matt Minto said it was the strong start which laid the platform for a convincing win.
"We thought if we could set up the match early, they're a good quality side," Minto said.
"I thought towards the back-end of the first half we started to get a bit loose.
"We talked about at half-time, making sure our defence was squeaky clean, and we did that in the second half."
The Cutters will now turn an eye to 2015 as the Knights prepare to take on Penrith in the grand final at Allianz Stadium this Sunday.