Cutters face acid test from Magpies

Rory O'Brien is contained by the Bulldogs defence at WIN Stadium. Picture: ROBERT PEET
Rory O'Brien is contained by the Bulldogs defence at WIN Stadium. Picture: ROBERT PEET


If the high-flying Illawarra Cutters want to know exactly where they stand then the table-topping Wentworthville and their international front row will tell them.

In one of the most highly-anticipated NSW Cup games of the season, Parramatta outcast Fuifui Moimoi and English international Lee Mossop are due to suit up for the Magpies against the second-placed Cutters.

Cult hero Moimoi has struggled to find a place in a resurgent Eels side this year, while Mossop is nearing his NRL debut after he arrived in Sydney with a long-term shoulder injury.

They'll lock horns with in-form Cutters bookends Josh Ailaomai and Rory O'Brien after Matt Groat reverts to the second row.

"They're really strong," Illawarra Cutters coach Ian Millward said.

"We're first and they're second, so you would expect both teams to have some really good qualities."

The battle between the big men is one of several intriguing match-ups at Pirtek Stadium with talented utility Kyle Stanley to make his first appearance of the season at lock.

Stanley featured only sparingly off the bench for the Dragons in the first month of the season then lasted just a couple of games with the Cutters before he succumbed to injury.

"The thing with Kyle is getting him game time," Millward said.

"That's our first priority. Everyone says how talented he looks at training, but he needs game time."

The Cutters can assume the outright lead with victory over Wentworthville.

They've only lost one match since round two after a scrappy draw against the New Zealand Warriors but it hasn't stopped Millward challenging his side, who he thinks is capable of playing even better.

"There's a couple of areas we identified [in need of improvement] during the week, but at present we have the best defensive record in the league and we're in the top three for attack," he said.

"We realise that every week is a new week and I thought the Dogs were really good last week.

"It's interesting as some games we're winning, and the scoreboard reflects we're winning well, but they're tough struggles.

"I find that we would have only had to slip in a couple of our actions and we would have been beaten. It's a fine line."


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