The PNG Hunters held onto the top spot of the Intrust Super Cup after toughing it out against the Souths Logan Magpies in a low scoring game in Port Moresby.
In the end, like it has in many Intrust Super Cup games this year, it came down to which side had the better goal kicking and that battle was won decisively by the PNG Hunters. In fact it is an aspect of the Hunters game that is very underrated, there is always the excitement of their power game and PNG flair, but the goal kicking of Ase Boas is more than handy, and could be a decisive factor for the rest of the season. It will certainly be handy come finals time, which looks a near certainty for the PNG side at the moment.
The halves were mirrored aside from the goal kicking, as there were a try a piece to each side in each half, the first scored by the PNG Hunters 20 minutes from the start of the half, and then Souths Logan replied 10 minutes later.
Souths Logan have been mightily impressive in 2017 so far, and this small loss to the PNG Hunters at home will do nothing to change that view, even if it doesn’t change their points tally. For PNG it is a good win against good opposition and makes it seven straight atop of the Intrust Super Cup.
PNG HUNTERS 12
Tries: Bland Abavu (21m), Israel Eliab (61m)
Goals: Ase Boas 2/2 Conv
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 8
Tries: Luke Archer (31m), Jamayne Isaako (70m)
By Dan White
The Magpies picked apart the Bears and the Hunters were more than a match for the Devils. With only one win the difference, two of the leagues leaders will face off in the excellent cauldron that is the Hunters home ground. This is the clash that should be on the TV as it promises to be a classic.
Last Time Out:
The Magpies hosted the Bears, and the weird and spluttering season that is the Bear current path was on show again. Whilst the strong win for the Magpies was not surprising, the inconsistency that has engulfed Burleigh was on show. It was not discipline nor errors, but they managed to give up a possession difference of 60/40 favouring the Magpies. The Hosts came out strong and went into half time with 18 points, and they also responded to the first score from the Bears to redress the margin.
It was not a great game to get an indication of how the Magpies are travelling. They lost Prop George Fai on the opening play and so they had to deal with an unbalanced bench and they faced a team that is not the calibre of their next opponent.
The Hunters played the game that we all know they can. With equal possession, they managed to pour on seven tries over the Devils. Mind you, defence has not been the Devils strongpoint this season. What can be observed from the game was where the Hunters made the Devils do the hard work. With the prime point of the attack being aimed right through the middle and forcing the Devils pack to complete about 75% of the tackles made.
Direct and demolish was very successful years ago, and the big men do not get any smaller as the game goes on. This Hunters team looks to have fixed a number of their weak points from the previous two seasons and are on top of the table for a very good reason.
Who to look out for:
This will be a game where we look out for a certain statistic rather than individual brilliance. Tackles will determine the outcome, if the Magpies can make sure that they get the Hunters down on the ground quickly, they will be ahead in the game. If the Hunters can make the Magpies have to commit their pack and edge into stopping them, then by the end of each half, they should be in front.
How they will win:
Both teams will be looking at tiring the other out, but by two different methods.
If I was the Magpies, I would have committed early to a game plan of kicking early to turn the big Hunters pack around and try and make their wings and fullback work harder in gaining the yards. Get to the thirty and kick for the potential 40/20 or at least make them work it out on every set coming out of their half.
For the Hunters, they will continue to employ their hard charging style. 9 players hit for over 80 metres and combined with 8 line breaks, they showed that when they play direct football, they dominate the middle. This gives them a strong advantage in their game style.
It is hard to go past the Hunters on a normal game. At home this year they have already lost a game, given that they have only had 2 for the season, this is worth noticing. But since the bye, this has been the best team in the competition. Hunters to win by 8+.
1. Stargroth Amean 2. Bland Abavu 3. Israel Eliab 4. Willie Minoga 5. Adex Wera 6. Ase Boas (c) 7. Watson Boas 8. Wellington Albert 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Esau Siune 11. Nixon Putt 12. David Loko 13. Stanton Albert 14. Silas Gahuna 15. Rahdly Brawa 16. Enock Maki 17. Moses Meninga 18. Brandy Peter 19. Lawrence Tu’u 20. Karo Kauna Jr.
Coach: Michael Marum
Souths Logan Magpies
1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Cameron Booth 3. Lenny Magey 4. Scott Doyle 5. Luke Archer 6. Matthew Minto 7. Conner Toia 8. Aotealofa Tuimavave 9. Travis Waddell 10. George Fai 11. Simione Fatafehi 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Phil Dennis (c) 15. Jack Anderson 16. Lilomaiava Mago 17. Rhys Melville 14. Jordan Scott
Coach: Jon Buchanan
|National Football Stadium|
|Lloyd Robertson Oval, Port Morseby|