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Round 13 Sunday wrap: Hunters take two points in nail-biting finish

The PNG Hunters have put two recent losses behind them to claim the win in a nail-biting clash against the Western Clydesdales on Sunday.

In cold and windy conditions at Toowoomba Sports Ground, the Hunters recorded their sixth victory of the season, holding off a fast-finishing Clydesdales 28-22.

The Hunters gifted the Clydesdales a number of back-to-back sets on their try line in the final 10 minutes, but showed great grit in defence to keep them out.

It was a much-needed win for the ninth-placed Hunters who recently fell out of the top eight following losses to the Souths Logan Magpies and Mackay Cutters.

Hooker Judah Rimbu said the effort they showed was the most impressive aspect of the match, overcoming their own errors to go home with the chocolates.

"It was good to get the two points with the boys," Rimbu said.

"It’s been a while, a couple of misses, but it’s good to bounce back.

"The best thing was the boys were able to stick to the end despite a lot of errors, missed tackles.

"The Clydies really came out and there was back and forth but the boys stayed together.

"We stuck to our game plan so we finished the game and got our points. It was a close match though."

The Hunters posted the first points of the day through centre Clent Lama but it didn't take the Clydesdales long to respond as young winger Kaden Buhse crossed.

Centre Corey Fenning then gave the Clydesdales the lead in the 16th minute before the Hunters started to run away with the opening stanza, scoring through Benji Kot, Elijah Roltinga and Sanny Wabo to go into the break up 24-10.

PNG Hunters. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL
PNG Hunters. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

The second half proved to be a battle of the hookers as Clydesdales No.9 Taniela Otukolo came out firing to hand his side momentum, scoring in the 43rd.

Rimbu hit back on behalf of his side nine minutes later, with what proved to be the winning try.

Interchange rake Drew Timms did give his side another four points - converted by Fenning - to bring the difference to just six, but it wasn't enough to get the win.

Rimbu said he felt "lucky" to get his try to help his side to victory.

After a pre-season with the Dolphins NRL, Rimbu said he felt his form had been rocky to start 2024 - similar to his team's - but he was hopeful of a strong run into a potential finals berth.

"It was a bit of a slow start after the Dolphins pre-season but I am getting my form back," Rimbu said.

"I’m happy to run around with the boys and get the wins. We’ve had some losses but it’s a rollercoaster. I am getting back my form back and looking forward to a better back end of the year."

For a wrap of the Saturday matches from Round 13, click here.

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Main image: Rimbu celebrates his try. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

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