Illawarra have fallen short in their bid to defend the Caldwell Cup at the NSW Country Championships in Tamworth.
The defending champions claimed a 21-17 victory over Central Coast in Saturday's semi-final. The win set up a rematch of the 2018 decider against Central West, who overcame Mid North Coast in the other semi-final.
Central West proved far too good for the Illawarriors, with the Blue Bulls blasting their opponents off the park during a dominant opening 40 minutes.
The Bulls scored in the third minute and never looked back, jumping out to a 31-0 half-time lead. Illawarra fought back in the second, ultimately going down 45-21.
The Illawarra colts team finished third at the competition, with the boys claiming a comprehensive 57-15 victory over Central North in Sunday's third-place playoff.
The Illawarra women forfeited Sunday's third-place playoff against Mid North Coast.
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