Capras fullback Reece Baker scored both the first and last tries of a thrilling game to help his side to an upset win over the PNG Hunters at Browne Park earlier today.
The home side had a dream start – bursting out to a 16-0 lead within the first 20 minutes – which included Baker crossing in just the second minute of the match to lay the platform for the CQ side.
Helped early by some great work and kicking from halves Matt Minto and Maipele Morseau; Baker got his side on the board with a dummy half run after a penalty gave the Capras some good field position.
The next came soon after with William Cullen running through a hole, while their third came when the halves combined; with a clever kick from Minto landing in the arms of a running Morseau who scored under the posts. The successful conversion from Minto gave them a 16-0 lead.
The Hunters were then shocked into action and fullback Stargroth Amean – who was one of the best for the visitors all day – took it upon himself to get his side back in the game in the 26th minutes and scored after collecting an Atte Bina kick ahead.
While the Hunters thought they were in again soon after – Ase Boas was ruled to have been offside from a Bina kick.
However, there was one more scoring play left in the half – and it was for the home side – when powerful winger Junior Kirisome showed great strength to reach out and score for a 20-4 halftime lead – despite some attention from defender Adex Wera.
The halftime break did no favours for the Capras – but did wonders for the visitors, with the Hunters starting their fightback in style.
Co-captain Noel Zeming got the ball rolling with a try off some good lead-up play from his forwards in his 50th Cup game; while some concerted pressure (including earning a line-drop out and strong defence to force the Capras into touch) saw them work their way back into the game.
Wera was the next to score after his side attacked on the fifth tackle, throwing the ball form the left side of the field back to the right before eventually finding the experienced winger who got the ball down.
They went back-to-back to draw scores level at 20-20 when Amean got his second after spinning his way out of a few tackles before planting the ball. Zeming’s conversion attempt was waved away – setting up the thrilling finish with 13 minute to go.
While the Hunters threw plenty at the home side; errors gifted Capras the ball and they were able to make the most of it, with Minto managing to land a field goal for a 21-20 lead – despite it taking the hand of a defender on its way over the post.
To put the result beyond doubt – Baker scored a stunning try – producing an amazing take from a high Hunters kicking and running 80m to secure a coveted victory.
CQ CAPRAS 27 (Reece Baker 2, William Cullen, Maipele Morseau, Junior Kirisome tries; Matthew Minto 3 goals; Matthew Minto field goal) def PNG HUNTERS 20 (Stargroth Amean 2, Noel Zeming, Adex Wera tries; Noel Zeming 2 goals) at Browne Park.
XXXX Man of the Match: Samson Graham (CQ Capras)