The Tweed Heads Seagulls, a club who's sitting last on the Intrust Super Cup, produced an almighty upset to defeat competition leaders PNG Hunters 14-10 in a physical affair at the National Football Stadium.
In a big blow to the home side, the Hunters were missing halfback and skipper Ase Boas due to injury, with credentialed hooker Wartovo Puara slotting into the halves role.
The visitors too were missing their big names, with the likes of John Olive and Eddy Pettybourne called up into the depleted Gold Coast Titans NRL side for their match against the Rabbitohs.
The Gulls didn’t let their underdog status bother them and were the first team to score through halfback Michael Burgess, who stepped past would-be tacklers to score near the uprights after knock on by Hunters prop Esau Siune gave them attacking opportunity.
Lindon McGrady converted the try with just five minutes gone in the game.
Seagulls forward Ben Nakubuwai caused havoc to the Hunters defensive line with his damaging runs and his team-mates seem to find inspiration from his aggression.
They rushed up on their opponents and forced them into errors which kept them from working their way into the game.
A penalty goal by McGrady at the 10-minute mark gave his team an eight-point lead and an unlikely upset was on the cards.
Hunters stand-in skipper Wellington Albert stood up for his team and tried to inspire them to lift their game by making big tackles and providing his usual damaging runs.
Watson Boas was without brother Ase in the halves. Photo: Levington Melvin Levongo
However, handling errors and poor discipline limited the Hunters attacking opportunities in the opposition territory.
The Seagulls capitalised on all the chances provided to them, and an attacking set of six was capped off when forward Damien Sironen crashed over right on the halftime break with McGrady converting the try to give his team 14-0 lead over the Hunters.
However, as was expected, the Hunters hit back right at the start of the second half with centre Adex Wera crossing the line. Israel Eliab converted the try.
With 50 minutes gone, the Seagulls were leading 14-6; but the arm wrestle continued until Willie Minoga gave his side hope when he charged over a defender and sprinted 80m and seemed destined to score, only for Tweeds five-eighth McGrady to come across to make a try-saving tackle on Minoga.
With just 10 minutes remaining in the match, the Hunters finally earned themselves possession in Seagulls territory and this time Minoga did score after a good backline play and a pass from fullback Stargroth Amean in his 50th Cup game.
Eliab missed the conversion and the Hunters were trailing 14-10 into the last few minutes.
The home side tried everything to cross one more time, but Tweed Heads were able to hold on to claim the upset of the season.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 14 (Michael Burgess, Damian Sironen tries; Lindon McGrady 3 goals) def PNG HUNTERS 10 (Adex Wera, Willie Minoga tries; Israel Eliab goal) at National Football Stadium, Port Moresby.