The PNG Hunters defeated Burleigh Bears 20-12 in Round 18 following a strong second-half performance from the home side.
The Hunters were the first side to score when in the eighth minute they crossed in the corner after a quick shift of the ball to the unmarked Wawa Paul saw him put the ball down to score. Ase Boas missed the conversation and the Hunters led 4-0.
The home side were starting to gain momentum with forwards Wellington Albert and Esau Siune all making good metres.
However, an error from the Hunters in their red zone invited the visitors to attack and they wasted no time with hooker Patrick Politoni burrowing over near the uprights. Jamal Fogarty converted the try on the 15-minute mark and the Bears had the lead.
The visitors then got on a roll; led by PNG international Luke Page. The Bears once again went on the attack and experienced forward Matt White made a barn-storming run and carried defenders with him on his way to the tryline. Fogarty again converted the try and an upset was brewing.
Fogarty’s kicking game was troubling the Hunters as he controlled his team around the park.
The Hunters though were not done with yet, and they scored through captain Boas. It was a strong solo effort, which he followed up by converting to see the Hunters trail 12-10 before halftime.
Highlights from other weekend matches
The Hunters started the second half with high energy; Willie Minoga caused havoc with his strong runs and the home side were rewarded for his efforts by becoming the team that scored first in the second half.
Bland Abavu was over to put his side back in the lead after a cut-out ball from Watson Boas sent him over. The conversion was again unsuccessful, but the Hunters led 14-12.
The arm wrestle continued into the final quarter with both sides missing opportunities and making errors.
Watson Boas’s big play
However, it was Hunters halfback Watson Boas who stepped up to make a big play. He kicked for himself and regathered to score sending the 5000 supporters into eruption with 10 minutes left on the clock.
That play was enough to seal the win for the home side and maintain their position at the top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder.
Next weekend, the Hunters have a bye, while the Bears will face derby rivals the Tweed Heads Seagulls at Piggabeen.
PNG HUNTERS 20 (Wawa Paul, Ase Boas, Bland Abavu, Watson Boas tries; Ase Boas 2 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 12 (Patrick Politoni, Matt White tries; Jamal Fogarty 2 goals) at National Football Stadium, Port Moresby.