The PNG Hunters produced a physical defensive performance to down the Souths Logan Magpies in a key win that saw them climb into the Intrust Super Cup top six.
The visitors were forced to work hard at Davies Park for their 18-6 win against a committed Souths Logan side and there was plenty of feeling in the match with both sides playing to keep themselves in the running for finals football.
The Magpies blooded three new players with Clayton Mack, William Samuel and Rory Ferguson all making their Intrust Super Cup debuts; and they would have found it an eye-opening experience with the Hunters muscling up in defence.
Coach Michael Marum was especially pleased with his side’s goal-line defence; with the Hunters only conceding the one try to hard-running Magpies big man George Fai, despite the Magpies having repeated opportunities on their line.
“It’s good to get the win, I was really impressed with the way we defended against a top side again; the Magpies has some big boys in there, but I thought we had a good first half and in the second half we relied on our defensive efforts,” he said.
A healthy crowd had turned out to the West End venue to see the important match, and although tries were few and far between; they still got plenty of action to entertain them with both sides showing a willingness in defence and producing a number of big hits.
The Magpies also tried to get around the Hunters with some expansive play, with Corey Allan at the back attempting to run his way around the opposition – but each time, the Hunters found an answer and pressured the Magpies into poor passes or handling errors.
After engaging in some enterprising play of their own with a skilful interplay of passing from their backs; the Hunters were able to cross for the first try in the 12th minute after Junior Rau showed firstly some speed down the left touchline, then strength to get the ball down despite the attention of Magpies defenders.
Skipper Ase Boas had earlier opened the scoring with a penalty goal from in front in the ninth minute – his first of five successful penalty shots at goal for the afternoon.
Rau was involved again for the Hunters second and final try of the afternoon; producing a strong run where he was brought down just before the line.
From dummy half, Charlie Simon was able to go himself and twist his head and arm through the defenders to go over, with referee Jarrod Cole on the spot to award the try.
Despite missing the conversion; the Hunters went into the break leading 12-0 with Boas slotting two penalties in the first half.
In the second half, the Hunters kept up their intensity and were frustrating the Magpies who were doing everything else right bar scoring.
They were successful a number of times in getting the ball back from short kick offs and were working hard to get up to the Hunters goal line.
After some repeated pressure on the line thanks to penalties and a well-weighted kick earning a goal line drop out; Souths Logan eventually crashed over in the 55th minute via a strong effort from Fai.
Guy Hamilton’s conversion saw them trail 14-6 at that stage with plenty of time left on the board – but that was to be the end of the points for the Magpies.
Next week, Souths Logan host the in-form Burleigh Bears while the Hunters travel to Tweed Heads to take on a Seagulls side whose finals hopes are hanging by a thread.
“It will be a tough one next weekend, but we will take it one game at a time,” Marum said of challenge ahead for his side.
PNG HUNTERS 18 (Junior Rau, Charlie Simon tries; Ase Boas 5 goals) def SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 6 (George Fai try; Guy Hamilton goal) at Davies Park.