Illawarra continued their charge at the finals with a 30-16 win over North Sydney at UOW Jubilee on Saturday.
The scarlet and whites were bolstered with the inclusion of Jake Marketo, Jacob Host, Kalifa Fai Fai Loa and 2016 grand final hero Drew Hutchison, who returned from an ACL injury suffered in the preseason,however, his impact was limited to just 40 minutes.
Illawarra found their way across the line early through prop Rhys Kennedy, after receiving some quality service from playmaker Jack Payne. Adam Clune continued his impressive season, when he raced away to score off the back of a classy offload from Luciano Leilua to extend the lead to 12.
The Bears finally hit back through Tautalatasi Tasi, before a leaping Fai Fai Loa went over in the corner to give his side a 18-6 lead at halftime. Second half tries to Leilua and Jacob Hind sealed the win with a late double to the Bears’ Abbas Miski bringing the final score to 30-16, with Illawarra stealing seventh position on the ladder.