The PNG Hunters fought back from a fast start from the Sunshine Coast Falcons to post a 24-12 win at National Football Stadium today.
Hunters second rower Nixon Putt (pictured above) put in a man of the match performance to help his side to victory.
Former Hunters Justin Olam and Tui Kamikamica were notable omissions from the Falcons side, who took just four minutes in to score with try scoring front rower Jacob Hind bulldozing his way through to score in the opening minutes in to the match.
It was the arm wrestle for the next 30 minutes as both sides struggled to execute their game plans and were guilty of handling errors.
But with less than five minutes left before halftime, Hunters skipper Ase Boas dummied and ran to go in and score after a penalty gave his side possession.
His brother Watson Boas converted the try to lock the scores at 6-6 going into the break.
Watson Boas kicked a penalty goal only four minutes into the second half to give his team the two-point lead which was extended when the home side scored again after the in-form Putt scooped up a loose ball to sprint away and set up fullback Paul Wawa to score.
The visitors replied shortly after, with winger Iliesa Ratuva scoring in the corner. Ryan Papenhuyzen was successful with the conversion to reduce the lead of the Hunters to two points.
The Hunters forwards – led by Putt, Stanton Albert and Dilbert Isaac – set the platform for their backline and Ase Boas scored his second try after collecting a Falcons dropped ball.
He scooped it and sprinted 30m to score midway through the second half to mark a successful return to the starting side after coach Michael Marum had him make his return from illness via the bench in the past few weeks.
Putt then pushed the result beyond doubt when he scored the final try of the match after chasing through on a grubber kick just minutes before fulltime.
Next weekend, the Hunters will host the Redcliffe Dolphins, while the Falcons travel to Townsville to take on the Blackhawks.
PNG HUNTERS 24 (Ase Boas 2, Paul Wawa, Nixon Putt tries; Watson Boas 4 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 12 (Jacob Hind, Iliesa Ratuva tries; Ryan Papenhuyzen 2 goals) at Oil Search National Football Stadium, Port Moresby.
*Levington Melvin Levongo is a QRL Correspondent covering PNG