The Papua New Guinea Hunters consolidated a top five position with a blistering first half performance paving the way for a 34-16 victory over Norths Devils yesterday.
The Hunters blew the Devils off the pack early at Bishop Park, virtually keeping pace with the clock for a 28-0 lead within half an hour.
They overcame some sloppy handling in the second half – and a try-scoring burst from the Devils – to maintain fifth position on the Intrust Super Cup ladder; four points clear of Easts Tigers who were upset by Redcliffe on Sunday.
Coming off a last-start win over Central Queensland, the signs for Norths were ominous early with the Hunters crossing via Brandy Peter in the opening 10 minutes.
Some fancy footwork from Adex Wera increased the lead to 18-0 before skipper Israel Eliab and centre Thompson Teteh added their names to the swelling try scorer’s list.
The Devils clawed back some momentum after the break, with fullback Ryan Millard claiming a double in quick succession to give the home side a sniff at 28-16 behind with 30 minutes to play.
However, the desperate Hunters defence couldn’t be breached with winger Oti Bland Tony wrapping up the game in the dying stages.
Brisbane Broncos-contracted centre Dale Copley crossed late in the first half for Norths as he continues to push his case for an NRL recall.
PNG HUNTERS 34 (Oti Bland Tony, Thompson Teteh, Adex Wera, Israel Eliab, Ase Boas, Brandy Peter tries; Noel Zeming 5 goals) def NORTHS DEVILS 16 (Ryan Millard 2, Dane Copley tries; Luke Pollock 2 goals) at Bishop Park.
Norths Devils: 1. Ryan Millard 2. Luke Pollock 3. Dylan Galloway 4. Dale Copley 5. Rogan Dean 6. Sam Foster 7. Sean Loxley 8. Matt Mizzi 9. Krys Freeman 19. Chris Faust 11. Rhett Webster 13. Brett Greinke (c) 12. Todd Lowrie 14. Byron Creighton 15. Billy Solah 16. Richard Tuala 18. Liam Tyson
PNG Hunters: 1. Stargroth Amean 2. Oti Bland Tony 3. Noel Zeming 18. Thompson Teteh 5. Adex Wera 6. Israel Eliab (c) 7. Ase Boas 8. Henry Noki 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Esau Siune 11. Kato Ottio 12. Brandy Peter 13. Adam Korave 14. Roger Laka 15. Lawrence Tu'u 16. Willie Minoga 17. Enock Maki