The Tweed Heads Seagulls have done it again. If people though their win a Piggabeen over the Dolphins was the upset of the year, get the eraser out as the Seagulls have knocked off a second competition leader in four rounds, this time in even more impressive fashion by beating the PNG Hunters in Port Moresby.
Although they didn’t do it as emphatically as the win against Redcliffe, they were well in control leading 14-0 at half time courtesy of two converted tries and a penalty. The first of which was after just three minutes to halfback Michael Burgess, and their second was just before half time to workhorse Damian Sironen.
That was all the points the Seagulls would score going scoreless in the second half, so the question at half time was whether the lead was big enough. It eventuated that it was, but the Hunters made it interesting. A converted Adex Wera try reduced the gap to eight just after half time, and fan favourite Willie Minoga crossed with 10 minutes to go to make it four, but no further points came from either side and the Tweed Head Seagulls celebrated being just the third team to beat PNG Hunters in Port Moresby.
The win for Tweed Heads gives them a chance to get off the bottom when the byes even up, and the PNG Hunters retain the competition lead as the Falcons went down earlier on Saturday.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 14
Tries: Michael Burgess (3m), Damian Sironen (38m)
Goals: Lindon McGrady 2/2 Conv, 1/1 Pen
PNG HUNTERS 10
Tries: Adex Wera (44m), Willie Minoga (70m)
Goals: Israel Eliab 1 Conv
Two years ago, the Hunters played their first game in Port Moresby on a Saturday night during State of Origin against the Souths Logan Magpies, and that night saw a sell out crowd that bettered every NRL game on offer that weekend.
If they sell out the National Football Stadium this weekend they’ll go close again. With the PNG Hunters on top of the Intrust Super Cup there’s a great reason to get along.
The visit of the last placed Tweed Heads Seagulls may not strike too much fear in the PNG side, but the Hunters should remember the last time Tweed Heads played a table topping side, they thoroughly outplayed the Redcliffe Dolphins. That was at Piggabeen, this time it’s a much harder test on Port Moresby for the Seagulls.
Last time out
This is the first back to back home games for the Hunters for the season, their game last weekend saw them scrape home past the Magpies. The game ended in two tries a piece, one each in each half, and ultimately it came down to goal kicking as Ase Boas landed both of the Hunter’s conversions, whereas the Magpies missed both of theirs.
In fact the goal kicking is a factor that is overlooked for the PNG Hunters this season. Ase Boas is a very reliable goal kicker, and his boot has made the difference a few times this season. Twice against the Magpies.
Tweed Heads came into last weekend’s Flockbuster game against Wynnum in their best form of the season with two good wins in a row. A win could have got them off the bottom of the table, where they have been since Round 1, but instead they were flogged by their fellow Seagulls. They lost 46-8, and were down 38-0 halfway through the second half.
Who to look out for:
Wellington Albert is a giant of a man at 193cm, and his signing from the Penrith Panthers at the start of the season was heralded as a very good one. It has proven as such with the prop hitting tremendous form, which has coincided wit the Hunters winning run and march to the top of the ladder.
Michael Burgess was instrumental in the upset win over Redcliffe at Piggabeen, and a similar performance will set the Seagulls up with a very good chance of repeating the feat. The halfback will need to be at his organised best to get around the Hunters.
How they will win:
Any side that can afford to have a player of the calibre of Willie Minoga as an interchange forward is going very well. The Hunters forward pack are key to the game, setting up a platform for the Boas brothers to cause havoc and find their in form outside backs like Stargroth Amean and Adex Wera.
The Tweed Heads halves pairing is not without quality themselves, however if they can’t match the Hunters power up the middle it won’t matter how good the 6 and 7 are.
The PNG Hunters haven’t been as good at home this year as previous seasons, but they have more than enough to see off the last placed Tweed Heads. It is hard to imagine any complacency in front of their vocal support.
Hunters by 16
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. David Loko 13. Stanton Albert 14. Lawrence Tu’u 15. Willie Minoga 16. Enock Maki 17. Muka Peter Kalu 18. Brandy Peter 19. Karo Kauna Jr. 20. Noel Joel
Coach: Michael Marum
Tweed Heads Seagulls
1. Phoenix Hunapo 2. James Toole 3. James Wood 4. Jackson Clarke 5. Peter Lee 6. Lindon McGrady 7. Michael Burgess 8. Ben Nakubuwai 9. Samuel Meskell (c) 10. Carne Doyle-Manga 11. Lamar Manuel-Liolevave 12. Tristan Lumley 13. Nicholas Harrold 14. William Johnstone 15. Shem Vaoa 16. Damian Sironen 17. Dane Clarke 19. Mackenzie Reid
Coach: Aaron Zimmerle
|National Football Stadium|
|Lloyd Robertson Oval, Port Morseby|