Exciting times for the PNG Hunters as they head the Intrust Super Cup outright for a rare occasion if not the first time after a big 42-4 win over the Townsville Blackhawks in Port Moresby.
The seven tries to one win lays down a big marker for the rest of the competition, or it could equally be argued that it highlight the downfall of Townsville in 2017.
The Blackhawks peaked early with a try to Carlin Anderson in the 2nd minute, but the four pointer for the competition’s leading point scorer was all the joy they were to get as the Hunters replied just 4 minutes later, and never looked back.
PNG Hunters fullback, who was one of the Kumuls best in the recent test match against the Cook Islands, continued his outstanding form with three tries, two of which were in the first half and saw the Hunters take the lead. He may well be in enough form to have the Kumuls selectors thinking twice ahead of the World Cup before installing an NRL star like David Mead in the number 1.
Fans of Willie Minoga, of which I am one, will rejoice as he scored before half time to ensure the home side had a 26-4 lead at the break.
No further joy for Townsville as the Hunters scored three more after the break unanswered, to run out winners with a big 42-4 score line. A result that would have been hard to imagine at the beginning of the season with Townsville’s playing roster. Townsville remain in the top 6 despite the loss, but will need to reverse the form quickly.
PNG HUNTERS 42
Tries: David Loko (6m), Stargroth Amean (18m), Stargroth Amean (29m), Willie Minoga (33m), Stargroth Amean (42m), Silas Gahuna (58m), Watsn Boas (75m)
Goals: Ase Boas 6/7 Conv 1/1 Pen
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 4
Try: Carlin Anderson (2m)
By Daniel White
The Hunters are back home, on top of the table and will be happy after taking the points away from Ipswich. The Blackhawks were close to embarrassed before a sideline conversion gave them the draw. In an unconvincing display, they showed that individual brilliance can sometimes save the day.
Last time out:
The Back five for the Hunters tore it up with every player going over 100 metres in attack and scoring three of the Hunters five tries. Combined with a show of both discipline and ball control, the Hunters returned from their bye with a very dominant show over the Jets at North Ipswich Reserve.
With less than 10 errors for the match and only 5 penalties, it was the best performance by this side and made sure that they gave their opponents very little to work with.
The Blackhawks were lucky, the Capras were the better side for all but the closing minutes and yet the Blackhawks did make sure they were close enough to tie it up as the siren blared. Jonathon Reuben was the standout with four tries and 266 metres, but it also highlights an issue for the side. Individual acts of brilliance covering up for a lack of team work. With the talent on hand, they should be doing a lot better.
Who to look out for:
This will be a battle in the halves, the Boas boys are teaming up well and with the return of Laybutt and a few weeks back in the side, both he and Michael Parker-Walshe will be needed if the Blackhawks are to pose any threat to PNG. Watson Boas has been working hard to act as the foil to Ase and the way they can split the defence has been significant in helping the Hunters roll forward.
How they will win:
The Hunters are in the groove at the moment and they will want to keep it rolling this weekend. With size and speed all over the park, it would be hard to see how they will be opened up by the disjointed Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks need to start representing the value that has been expended in building up the team that is meant to be the first port of call for the Cowboys. For this game to end in their favour, they need to stop being a number of good players and be a better team. Stop trying to play for a contract in the NRL and start playing for the one you are getting paid for currently. Can they win, easily, they are a close match in size and they are also blessed with speed in the backline. But the ball has to get out to the wings and the forwards have to do the hard yards.
PNG are leading the table and should continue to do so after this round. Can the Blackhawks work as a team and pull off the upset, no team is better equipped to do so, it is up to those wearing the jersey. Hunters by 6.
1. Stargroth Amean 2. Bland Abavu 3. Israel Eliab 4. Adex Wera 5. Wawa Paul 6. Ase Boas (c) 7. Watson Boas 8. Wellington Albert 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Esau Siune 11. Nixon Putt 12. Willie Minoga 13. Stanton Albert 14. Silas Gahuna 15. Rahdly Brawa 16. Enock Maki 17. Moses Meninga 18. Brandy Peter 19. Ishamel Baikawa 20. Butler Morris
Coach: Michael Marum
1. Carlin Anderson 2. Samsen O’Neill 3. Temone Power 4. Davin Crampton 5. Jonathon Reuben 6. Kyle Laybutt 7. Michael Parker-Walshe 8. Sam Hoare 9. Anthony Mitchell 10. Corey Jensen 11. Blake Leary 12. Andrew Niemoeller 13. Daniel Beasley (c) 14. Kierran Moseley 15. Jordan Kenworthy 16. Sione Lousi 22. Oshae Tuiasau
Coach: Kristian Woolf
|National Football Stadium|
|Lloyd Robertson Oval, Port Morseby|