Posted By Staff Reporter
THE SP PNG Hunters continued their fairy-tale run with a comprehensive 46-14 win Central Queensland Capras in Kalabond, Kokopo.
That victory maintained the Hunters’ 100 percent record of three wins from three games and should push them to somewhere at the top of the Queensland Intrust Super Cup premiership table.
It was also the highest margin for the Papua New Guinea side, sending out early signals that the newcomers in Australia’s second-tier competition are going to be increasingly difficult to run down when teams allow them to set the tempo of the match.
While there were patches of the game that were mistake-riddled and areas that coach Michael Marum would obviously work hard to remove from future performances – when the Hunters controlled the football – the home side was seemingly unstoppable.
At half-time when the score was 22-10 a possible fight back by Capras looked promising when winger Rhys Williams scored the first try in the second stanza to reduce the deficit to 22-14.
But that became a daunting task when interchange player Noel Zemming scurried over for a try and started nailing the extras with a better goal kicking show.
The Hunters just grew in confidence and shifted into a higher gear with some punishing defence to the joy of the crowd which was a huge improvement mainly due to the better weather conditions compared to last week’s rain affected match.
With about 10 minutes on the clock the Hunters were safely home 40-14 and it was a case of whether they could push past the half-century mark – which was in sight if it wasn’t for some dropped balls when the last pass didn’t stick.
“It wasn’t a good day for us,” Capras coach Jason Hetherington lamented after the game before they caught their charter flight to return home via Cairns.
“We gave them too many opportunities, and they made the most of them,” captain Guy Williams said.
“We paid the price,” Hetherington, a former Canterbury Bulldogs player said.
Hunters coach Michael Marum enjoyed the win like the many others which included Minister for Sports Justin Tkatchenko and Governor Ereman ToBaining Jnr who officiated before the kick-off.
“We’ll watch the video (of the game) and analyse the errors.”
But Marum was happy that the competition for spots was intense which was healthy as players coming into the side when others were ruled out due to injury continued to play good football.
Gonzela Urakasie had to be rushed into the side late in the week due to an injury to prop Timothy Lomai but didn’t disappoint so did Esau Siune who was a handful in attack when he came off the bench.
But Marum and his high quality backroom staff continue to remind the players to keep their feet on the ground to avoid complacency creeping up on them as consistent quality performance was crucial if the Hunters wanted to maintain the wave of success so far.