The Wyong Roos’ dream of winning the NSW Cup premiership is over after they were defeated 29-16 by the Wentworthville Magpies on Sunday.
Without the backing of an NRL club behind them, the Roos – who only just scraped into the top eight in the final week of regular season – saw their six-game winning streak came to an end thanks to the Parramatta feeder club.
Wentworthville, who were shown up by the Newcastle Knights the week prior, had their game faces on and it showed with Eels fringe first-graders Bureta Faraimo, Api Pewhairangi and Justin Hunt all crossing for tries of their own.
Despite the best efforts of former Newcastle lower-grader Dale Clacherty claiming a double, the scoreline could have been a lot worse for Wyong if not for Luke Kelly's poor day with the boot – the halfback only managing to kick two from six.
Also exiting to competition this week are the New Zealand Warriors, who were bundled out thanks to a 29-12 defeat to the Illawarra Cutters.
With the Cutters getting thrashed by minor premiers the Penrith Panthers in week one of the finals, the Dragons feeder club were boosted by the returns of NRL players Peter Mata'utia, Will Matthews, Shane Pumipi and Kyle Stanley, with Mata'utia and Matthews crossing for four-pointers.
While tries from Sione Lousi and Raymond Faitala-Mariner helped equal the ledger in the second half, a solo 50 metre effort from prop Shannon Wakeman opened the game wide open for the Cutters.
From there they never looked back with a try from Charly Runciman, who returned from a thumb injury for the game, and a field goal from five-eighth Sam Duggan sealing the game and Illawarra's spot in the final four.
Week three of the finals will now see the Panthers take on Wentworthville and the Knights take on the Cutters in a massive double header at Leichhardt Oval this Sunday afternoon.
NSW Cup Preliminary Finals Week 3
Sunday 21st September, 1:10pm onwards at Leichhardt Oval
Penrith Panthers (1st) vs. Wentworthville Magpies (3rd)
Newcastle Knights (2nd) vs. Illawarra Cutters (4th)