Mounties have been beaten in their Round 15 VB NSW Cup clash, going down 25-18 at Aubrey Keech Reserve on Saturday.
Mounties got off to the perfect start when in the 2nd minute Jack Ahearn injected himself into the backline and delivered a perfect cutout pass for Bill Tupou who scored untouched for Mounties to lead 4-0 after the conversion from Mitch Cornish shaved the upright.
In the 11th minute it was déjà vu for Illawarra when Tupou crossed for his second of the contest with Mitch Cornish delivering the cutout and again he was able to score untouched with the conversion again going wide and Mounties led 8-0.
The 18th minute saw Bill Tupou score again when he was able to cross for Mounties and again in almost identical circumstance when Ahearn and Cornish combined to delivery the winger his third try of the game only this time Cornish's boot was able to convert and Mounties had a comfortable 14-0 lead.
Five minutes later Illawarra got themselves back into the game when hooker Craig Garvey beat some attempted tackles to crash over near the posts and with the kick it was Mounties in front 14-6.
Play then went end to end and with fatigue setting in near the back of the half it was Illawarra who made the most of their chances when Shannon Wakeman brushed off two attempted tackles to score adjacent to the sticks and Mounties lead was cut to two with the conversion making it 14-12 and it remained that score until the break.
Immediately after the break Illawarra were able to take the lead with an unconverted try and in the 54th minute a converted try saw them extend their lead to 24-14 and Mounties then found themselves trying to play catch up footy.
In the 58th minute it was Bill Tupou again who put Mounties back into the contest when persistent ball movement by Mounties stretched the Illawarra defence and with his fourth try of the afternoon it was Illawarra leading 24-18 after the missed conversion.
The next 15 minutes of the game saw both teams squander possession while trying to score with Mounties desperately looking for the equaliser and Illawarra seeking to put an end to the game and in the 76th minute Drew Hutchinson put the game away when he calmly slotted a field goal in front of the posts.
Mounties tried hard in the final minutes to claw themselves back in front to no avail and the result was their fourth loss on the trot which has seem them fall to seventh position on the ladder and in danger of slipping out of the top eight.
Next week Mounties play the high flying Wests Tigers on Saturday at Campbelltown Sports Ground with kickoff at 3:15pm and the game broadcast live on FOX sports 1.