It would be an understatement to say the rain came to Tapout Energy Stadium on Saturday; this was a torrential deluge; however it was not wet enough to spoil Easts party, as the club celebrated backrower Tory Giess’s 100th Intrust Super Cup match with a 14-8 win over the Hunters.
While the weather ensured this was not to be the high energy razzle dazzle football that has marked the Hunters start to the season, but rather tough, old fashioned football.
The first points of the day came after five minutes when new Tigers fullback Donald Malone chimed into the backline, collected a Shaun Nona pass and linked with Richie Kennar who showed great skill to get the ball down in the wet and give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
Brandy Peter should have equalised for the Hunters after a bullocking run by Henry Noki, however he dropped the ball with the tryline beckoning and the Hunters best chance of the opening 30 minutes was gone.
For much of the game, it seemed as if the Hunters were waiting for something to happen. Three times they were tackled in possession on the last tackle and simply handed the ball over, something Michael Marum will surely be talking to his halves about this week.
With eight minutes to go Israel Eliab tried something. He hoisted the ball into the swirling wind and rain, Kennar just missed collecting it and Thompson Teteh following through scored the try. This was no easy try for Teteh though as the ball slipped and slid on the wet surface, however he showed great patience to wait before diving on the ball and securing the points.
With the halftime score even at 4-4; eight minutes into the second half the Tigers backline sparked into life with the best attacking raid of the day.
Nona combined perfectly with halves partner Joel Romelo, Malone chimed into the backline to create the extra man before passing to Shane Neumann. Neumann delivered a perfectly timed pass to Mahe Fonua who went in untouched in the corner.
In the second half, the Hunters noticeably lifted the speed of their game as they tried to overrun the Tigers. However unable to make any inroads around the ruck they were forced to start running sideways and much of the intensity of their runs was lost.
The Tigers had learnt from their draw with the Hunter 12 months ago and realising points were going to be at a premium took all that were on offer. With 13 minutes gone they were awarded a penalty 20m out. Captain Hogan pointed to the posts, Nona slotted the goal and the Tigers extended their lead to 12-4.
Finally, with 15 minutes gone in the half Roger Laka conjured up another try. This time it was the grubber kick, rather than the up-and-under, however the result was the same with big Teteh following through to score try number two for the day and five for the season.
With six minutes to go, the Hunters were penalised and again the Tigers took the smart option and pointed to the posts, Nona slotted the goal and took the score to 14-8, which was the final score.
EASTS TIGERS 14 (Richie Kennar, Mahe Fonua tries; Shaun Nona 3 goals) def PNG HUNTERS 8 (Thompson Teteh 2 tries) at Tapout Energy Stadium, Langlands Park
1. Donald Malone 2. Richie Kennar 3. Shane Neumann 4. Cameron Munster 5. Mahe Fonua 6. Shaun Nona 7. Joel Romelo 8. Matthew Zgrajewski 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Foisa Peni for Christian Welch 11. Dane Hogan (c) 12. Jake Foster 13. Troy Giess 14. Liam McDonald 15. Francis Tualau 16. Dean Britt 17. Liam Tyson
1. Stargroth Amean 2. Oti Bland Tony 3. Adex Wera 18. Thompson Teteh 5. Edward Goma 6. Israel Eliab (c) 7. Roger Laka 8. Henry Noki 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Esau Siune 11. Kato Ottio 12. Brandy Peter 13. Adam Korave 14. Ase Boas 15. Atte Bina 16. Willie Minoga 19. Warren Glare