Cutters alert to Warriors' strike power


Kevin Locke of the Warriors has regained his fitness and will test the Cutters. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Kevin Locke of the Warriors has regained his fitness and will test the Cutters. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

They've won three straight, but Illawarra Cutters coach Ian Millward has challenged his side to get "back on the horse" after a momentum-killing bye.

Having not dropped any points since a controversial 12-all draw against the Warriors in round two, the Cutters will welcome the New Zealand side across the Tasman at WIN Jubilee Oval on Saturday.

And they'll have their hands full trying to contain an outfit featuring Feleti Mateo, Konrad Hurrell and the fit-again Kevin Locke.

"We're pretty excited and I've got to say they've picked a much stronger team for this game," Millward said.

"On video last week he [Mateo] played very well," he said.

He wasn't sooking and he was very dominant in attack and very dominant in defence.

"The break's been good for everyone, but I would have rather us kept playing because we had a bit of momentum up.

We were also in a situation where we were winning, so we need to get back on the horse against a very good team this week," Millward said.

Illawarra has surged into the top two on the strength of their good recent form, but are well aware of the need to make the most of a draw stacked with home games early in the season.

Only Mounties sit perched above the Cutters on the NSW Cup competition ladder.

Millward said his side still had plenty to prove after a fast start to the season, including a mountain of individual goals for the various squad members.

"The big challenge is pretty easy: the guys coming up from the Coal League, it's easy for them to keep challenging themselves, and [for] the guys from the NRL squad, the challenge is to play better and go up.

"Will Matthews is a great example.

"He played great against Melbourne and he was one of our leading players over the last three games," Millward said.

"That's what got him in the [NRL] team ... playing well for us."

The clash between the Cutters and Warriors will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.


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