THE PNG Hunters scored a comprehensive 42-12 win over Souths Logan Magpies in their round 14 Intrust Super Cup clash at Kalabond, Kokopo, on Saturday.
When the skies opened up prior to kick off it seemed the heavy downpour was going to force both teams to struggle to score points due to the wet conditions.
However, the opposite unfolded as an avalanche of points became the order of the day for the Hunters, particularly in the second stanza, with winger Garry Lo picking up the man of the match award for his four tries.
The Hunters piled on eight tries to the Magpies’ two to centre Brenko Lee and Dallas Anderson, the second highest number of points the newcomers to the Queensland Rugby League competition have posted against opposing teams.
The highest is a 46-14 boilover against Central Queensland Capras in round 3 at the same venue.
At half-time the Hunters enjoyed a slim but handy 10-0 lead following tries to Lo and centre Noel Zemming, one of which was converted.
Then the floodgates started to slowly open in the second half with Lo starting the try-fest with his second and former winger turned second-rower George Benson crossing for his own contribution before Brenko put the visitors on the scoreboard with his effort.
At that stage the score was 18-4 and the Magpies stayed in the contest with powerful runs from their big forwards Patrick Mago, Sam Mataora, Zac Lamberg and equally big backs Ramon Filipine and Lee.
Halves Jack Ahearn and Rys Jacks and hooker Kurt Baptise continued with their scheming plays, probing for openings or trying to put their runners through the Hunters defence.
But the Hunters were ruthless in defence, continually repelling any ascendency the Magpies tried to build with their attacking raids.
“I was very happy with the performance especially our defence, which is an area we have been working very hard on in the last few weeks,” a jubilant Hunters coach Michael Marum said after the match.
Fullback Albert Patak didn’t share in the try spoils but his contribution with kick returns were quite impressive with winger Edward Goma not far behind with his efforts.
Interchange players Dion Aiye, Willie Minoga, Timothy Lomai and Lawrence Tu’u were equally effective when they came on with Marum rotating his players effectively in the slogging conditions.
“They were just having fun and enjoying it so much because they wanted to play and I found it hard taking them off,” Marum explained.
When Lo picked up his hat-trick after a mistake by the Magpies off a bomb to open up a sizeable 28-6 lead, the Hunters switched into entertainment mode.
Captain Isael Eliab got in on the act when he picked up a loose ball from a broken down Magpies play in the Hunters’ red zone, to score a length of the field runaway try.
Then Lo closed the try-fest entertainment in stylish fashion when he latched onto a no-look pass from Minoga after a great break on the left flanks, to send their rain-soaked fans home with great satisfaction that it was worth braving the atrocious conditions to witness an entertaining brand of Hunters football.
PNG HUNTERS 42 (Garry Lo 4, Noel Zemming, Israel Eliab, George Benson, Willie Minoga tries; Noel Zemming 5 goals) def SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 12 (Brenko Lee, Dallas Anderson tries; Patrick Mago 2 goals) at Kalabond Oval, Kokopo.
PNG Hunters: 1. Albert Patak 2. Garry Lo 3. Noel Zemming 4. Tiger Emere 5. Edward Goma 6. Israel Eliab (c) 7. Roger Laka 8. Joe Bruno 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Esau Siune 11. George Benson 12. David Loko 13. Adam Korave 14. Dion Aiye 15. Willie Minoga 16. Lawrence Tu'u 17. Timothy Lomai
Souths Logan Magpies: 1. Luke Archer 2. Ramon Filipine 3. Grant Cooke 4. Brenko Lee 5. Dallas Anderson 6. Jack Ahearn 7. Rhys Jacks 8. Luke Page 9. Kurt Baptiste 10. Sam Mataora 11. Andrew Edwards 12. Patrick Mago 13. Zac Lemberg 14. Mitch Cronin 15. Shane Duck 16. Rez Phillips 17. Darcy Wright