By ISAAC LIRI
PAPUA New Guinea Hunters created history by qualifying for their first Q-Cup grand final in front of more than 15,000 fans at the National Football Stadium yesterday.
Michael Marum’s men earned a hard-fought 6-4 win over the Redcliffe Dolphins in the major semifinal with captain Ase Boas, pictured, scoring all his side’s points.
The 28-year brought the house down scoring the only try of the match in the 63rd minute after his side had trailed 4-0 at halftime thanks to penalty goals by wing Jonus Pearson (15th min) and reserve half Hugh Pratt (39th min).
Boas coolly put his side in front with the conversion 8m in from the side line on the northern side of the stadium and then proceeded to control the sets as the home side ate up the clock to finish on top.
Boas commended his side’s defensive effort which kept the Dolphins try-less.
“We wanted to work hard and we did that. I think both sides were good in defence but we managed to get some good field position which gave me some space to run and score.
“Good effort in defence overall. We didn’t have much football but we hung in there. The boys didn’t give up and we finally ended up with a win.
“The last 15 minutes we were a bit nervous but we kept our cool and managed win in the end,” Boas said.
The Hunters now wait on the winner of the preliminary final this Sunday which will be between the Dolphins and the Sunshine Coast Falcons who beat the Easts Tigers 26-22 in the minor semifinal in Brisbane yesterday.
Hunters prop Wellington Albert, who was cited for a high shot on Dolphins prop Nathan Watts, will await his fate this week.
Hunters coach Michael Marum credited his side’s retreat to Kimbe in the lead up to the match as contributing to the win.
PNG Hunters 6 (Ase Boas try; Ase Boas con) Redcliffe Dolphins 4 (Jonus Pearson, Hugh Pratt pen) at NFS. H/T: 0-4 (Dolphins). Crowd: 15,000
Results: Sun, Sept 10 – Major Semifinal Hunters 6 Dolphins 4, Minor Semifinal Tigers 22 Falcons 26.
By ISAAC LIRI