A “new” home crowd of more than 15,000 helped spur the PNG Hunters to a club-record seventh consecutive victory against Souths Logan Magpies on Saturday evening.
Played at the recently redeveloped Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby, the Hunters’ overcame a halftime deficit to topple the Magpies 34-12.
Shifting from their regular base at Kokopo, PNG supporters turned out in force to pack out the venue.
“There was a big crowd (on Saturday) night and a few of the boys were nervous, but we spoke about what we needed to do and came back strongly in the second half,” PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum said.
“Overall, I was impressed with our win.”
The Hunters were perhaps overawed early, conceding the opening two tries.
Despite missing Brisbane Broncos-contracted halfback Ashley Taylor, Souths Logan skipped to an early advantage with fullback Josh Damen and light-footed backrower Joe Boyce scoring for a 12-0 lead.
The Hunters clawed their way back into the match and hit the lead when skipper Israel Eliab crossed after halftime.
They then went on with the job, scoring four unanswered tries in a dominant second half with playmaker Ase Boas finishing with a double.
The club’s last loss came against Wynnum Manly in Round 6.
Their seven-game streak has included fellow top five side Ipswich Jets and the ladder-leading Townsville Blackhawks away from home.
Marum said his team’s philosophy is simple.
“We’re not too concerned about where we are on the ladder. All we want to do is to keep playing and winning games and go from there.”
The Hunters currently sit in fourth place ahead of their clash against Tweed Heads Seagulls at Piggabeen this weekend.
Souths Logan have the bye in Round 15 before returning to Davies Park to play Tweed Heads on June 28.
PNG HUNTERS 34 (Ase Boas 2, Thompson Teteh, Adex Wera, Israel Eliab, Willie Minoga tries; Noel Zeming 4, Israel Eliab goals) def SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 12 (Josh Damen, Joe Boyce tries; Jack Joass 2 goals) at BSP Stadium, Port Moresby.
PNG Hunters: 1. Stargroth Amean 2. Oti Bland Tony 3. Noel Zeming 4. 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. Lawrence Tu'u 13. Adam Korave 14. Brandy Peter 16. Willie Minoga 17. Enock Maki 21. Timothy Lomai
Souths Logan Magpies: 1. Josh Damen 2. Paul Rokolati 3. Dallas Anderson 4. Tim Brooks 5. Matt Trnka 6. Jack Joass 7. Rhys Jacks 8. Aotealofa Tuimavave 9. Travis Waddell 10. Andrew Edwards 11. Joe Boyce 12. Dan Tamou 13. Phil Dennis (c) 14. Herschel Gideon 15. Hansel Semau 16. Sam Gardel 17. Leon Panapa