In a match where they played for the inaugural Air Niugini Cup, the PNG Hunters ran riot as they beat Townsville Blackhawk 42-4 at National Football Stadium, Port Moresby.
Things were looking up for the Hunters before the match as they welcomed back forward Brandy Peter and fullback Stargroth Amean, who made his presence felt by grabbing an impressive hat-trick.
However, it was the visitors who were the first to score in the opening moments when Carlin Anderson added to his imposing points tally this season after a PNG error at the back.
Michael Parker-Walshe kicked a high bomb that eventually found its way to his fullback to score in the corner – however, his conversation was unsuccessful.
Early on, the Blackhawks seemed to be ready to spring an upset, as they played high-tempo footy.
But it was to be the Hunters day and they hit back soon after thanks to some spark from captain Ase Boas, who put hard-running forward David Loko into a gap to score in front of the uprights. Boas converted to go up 6-4.
The humid and windy conditions then seemed to take their toll on the visitors as they struggled to take control of the ruck area.
As a result, their frustration led to penalties which gave Hunters more possession and in-form fullback Amean danced past defenders to score his first try. Another Boas conversion and penalty goal extended their lead to 14-4.
With under 12 minutes until halftime, the Hunters forward pack (led by the Albert brothers, Wellington and Stanton, as well as Loko and Nixon Putt) really stepped up.
Despite being on the back foot, the Blackhawks went on attack again, however, young forward Putt caught Parker-Walshe’s grubber and sprinted 80m before being tackled; only for Amean to score from dummy-half for his second try.
Boas converted again and the Blackhawks defence then opened up with Willie Minoga scoring from a scrum set play to give the Hunters a 26-4 lead at the halftime break.
The second half was all one-way traffic as Amean grabbed his third try thanks to a Boas grubber kick.
While Townsville struggles, the Hunters defence held strong and forced errors from their opposition. Loko picked up a loose ball and sprinted 40m with no defenders before passing the ball to utility Silas Gahuna for a 36-4 score with 18 minutes to go.
It capped a great day for the home side when halfback Watson Boas beat a would-be tackler to sprint 40m and score in front of the uprights, extending the lead to 42-4.
PNG HUNTERS 42 (Stargroth Amean 3, David Loko, Willie Minoga, Silas Gahuna, Watson Boas tries; Ase Boas 7 goals) def TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 4 (Carlin Anderson try) at National Football Stadium, Port Moresby.