The PNG are back in the winners’ circle after defeating an impressive Ipswich side 20-4 in their Round 22 Women in League game.
In an interesting note to add to the special round, assistant referee Belinda Sleeman became the first female referee to officiate a rugby league game in National Football Stadium.
After a tough week for the Hunters following their loss to Redcliffe last Sunday, they were fired up to play some high intensity football.
However, the visitors were the first side to score with centre Nemani Valekapa beating Willie Minoga with his speed and offloading to an unmarked Michael Purcell to score; however, the conversion was unsuccessful.
It was all Jets from there as they toyed with the Hunters with their offloads making the PNG forwards work hard.
Ipswich, led by Sebastian Pandia and Tyson Lofipo, were strong up front – but the Hunters managed to hang on until forward David Loko broke the game open when he stepped past would-be tacklers to score right on halftime. With this conversion also unsuccessful, scores were locked at 4-4 going into break.
The arm wrestle continued in the second half with both sides making handling errors to make gaining the upper hand difficult.
The Hunters were first to score in the second half though thanks to in-form fullback Stargroth Amean who showed his strength to power his way to score.
The home side scored again via Stanton Albert after a good ball by hooker Wartovo Puara and the Hunters were well and truly on top with less than 20 minutes to play before fulltime.
The Jets tried to get back into the game and play their trademark “hot potato” football, however the Hunters were up to the task in defence and were able to force errors.
As a result, Hunters captain Ase Boas was able to collect a loose ball and sprint 50m to score just before fulltime to extend their winning margin.
PNG HUNTERS 20 (David Loko, Stargroth Amean, Stanton Albert, Ase Boas tries; Ase Boas 2 goals) def IPSWICH JETS 4 (Michael Purcell try) at National Football Stadium, Port Moresby.