Cutters, Dragons kick off with benchmark games

The Illawarra Cutters will kick off their 2013 NSW Cup campaign with a blockbuster against premiers Newtown at WIN Stadium on Saturday, March 9.

The Cutters and the Jets played out some close encounters last season and both teams should be champing at the bit for next year's premiership opener.

After an impressive debut year in the NSW Cup after a slowish start, Cutters coach Paul McGregor is expected to have his charges ready to fire at the start.

The Cutters now have an idea of what to expect in this high-quality competition.

Once they came to grips with the requirements, under McGregor's guidance, the Cutters surged into the finals - only to fall to eventual premiers Newtown, the feeder club for the Sydney Roosters.

In an ironic start to the season, the St George Illawarra Dragons begin their NRL season proper against premiers the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on Sunday, March 10.

So both the Dragons and the Cutters will have an early benchmark.

The Cutters will take on previous premiers Canterbury-Bankstown at Belmore Sports Ground on Saturday, March 16, in round two before having a bye.

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