TWO tries in three minutes ensured the Illawarra Cutters snatched a late victory and place in the Premiership NSW grand final against Mounties.
In a thrilling finish, the Cutters trailed by four, until Jacob Host and Adam Quinlan scored to seal an 18-10 victory in the rain at Leichhardt Oval.
After coming off the bench, with Josh McCrone moved to start at halfback, Drew Hutchison played a masterful role in the crucial final minutes, before Host barged his way over in the 74th minute. Levi Dodd’s conversion put the Cutters ahead 12-10, then Hutchison put Quinlan into the clear off the next set, sealing a stunning triumph for the St George Illawarra feeder team.
Quinlan, Kurt Mann, Taane Milne, Kalifa Fai Fai Loa, McCrone, Siliva Havili, Host and Hutchison are among the Cutters players with NRL experience.
However, Canberra Raiders and former Dragons halfback Sam Williams stands in the Cutters’ way of a NSW Rugby League premiership and dream date in the interstate challenge on NRL grand final day. After missing out on a place in the Canberra Raiders team for the semi-final victory over Penrith, Williams steered the Mounties to a 24-win over Wests Tigers.
A win over Mounties at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday would put them through to a State Championships decider, played as a curtain-raiser on NRL grand final day next week.
Grand final (Sunday)
ILLAWARRA CUTTERS v MOUNTIES
Pirtek Stadium (4.15pm)