Hunters crash to Dolphins


THE PNG Hunters could not come back from a 20-0 halftime deficit against the Redcliffe Dolphins, going down 28-12 at Dolphin Oval yesterday.
The home side put on an impressive first 40 minutes, scoring three tries as the competition leaders were out-muscled and out-played in the opening stages of their round 21 Q-Cup fixture. After last week’s disappointing 22-22 draw with the Mackay Cutters, coach Michael Marum’s side were aiming to maintain the four-point buffer they had at a top of the standings and despite winning the second half (12-8), the hosts controlled enough of the period to exact revenge for their round seven loss in Port Moresby.
Even though the Hunters’ suffered their fourth loss of the season they still maintain the No.1 spot on the ladder.
On a positive note Hunters fullback Stargroth Amean scored his sides two second half tries taking his season tally to 11. Captain Ase Boas converted both.
The Adam Mogg-coached Dolphins were impressive on defensive muscling up on the Hunters pack regularly driving ball carriers back.
The Dolphins opened the scoring in the fifth minute with late replacement Joseph Bradley crashing over to set the tone for the match in what would eventually be their 14th win the season.
Dolphins’ five-eighth Tyson Gamble was flawless with the boot converting all four tries and adding two penalty goals.
Errors and ill-discipline by the Hunters enabled the Dolphins to capitalise as back-rower Troy Giess scored his team’s second try in the 23rd minute.
Seven minutes later back-row partner Danny Bridge added his name to the scoresheet breaking the line before wrong-footing Amean.
Gamble slotted a penalty in the 33rd minute to extend their lead to 20-0 before they headed to the sheds.
The home side were the first to score in the second stanza through Myles Taueli also there was some doubt over the grounding.
However the video referee referred the decision back to the referee Chris Butler who stuck with his earlier decidion. The Hunters lifted their intensity but their execution remained off as errors and poor options held them back.
The Hunters had a stroke of luck off a Boas bomb which found a leaping Amean beating the Dolphins cover to score his side’s first points in the 55th minute.
Marum’s crossed again five minutes later a comeback was brewing with the scores at 26-12.
Centre Israel Eliab looked to have grounded the ball after wrestling his way over the line in the 69th minute but Butler ruled it a lost ball after the video replay was inconclusive.
The Dolphins ground out the remaining minutes and added a penalty to finish on top.
Dolphins 28 (Joseph Bradley, Troy Giess, Danny Bridge, Myles Taueli tries;  Tyson Gamble 4 con, 2 pen) Hunters 12 (Stargroth Amean 2 tries; Ase Boas 2 con). Rd 21 results: Sat, July 29 – Jets 32 Pride 22, Bears 28 Blackhawks 22, Capras 26 Falcons 44; Sun, July 30 – Dolphins 28 Hunters 12, WM Seagulls 22 Tigers 6.

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