The National, Tuesday July 2nd, 2013
AFLPNG’s Coca-Cola Under-14 Binatangs created history on the Gold Coast last week taking out the Queensland State Academy Championships.
The Binatangs have been participating in the Queensland U14 Championships since 2007, and until this year had not played in a final.
The State Academy Championships bring together seven other development squads from throughout the state, with PNG taking the eighth spot on the roster.
Earlier in the week the Binatangs recorded victories over the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane West to win a place in the 2013 decider against North Queensland.
Coach Ben Drew had simple instructions for the team, “I want you kick the ball to space and use your natural speed to run, run and run.”
The Binatangs carried out the coach’s instructions to perfection.
There were no grand final nerves for PNG who started well and within two minutes Port Moresby’s Saburo Gerard had goaled.
Minutes later Justine Murawa added a goal to enable the Binatangs to go into quarter time with a handy 2.2 (14) to 0 lead.
Two more quick goals in the second quarter to Sylvester Wesley and Cobern Gamuna and the signs were ominous for a PNG victory.
North Queensland, coached by former Collingwood premiership hero, Craig Starcevich, responded with two goals of their own to see the half time scoreline at PNG 5.2 (32) to NQ 2.0 (12).
The Binatangs third quarters had been poor earlier in the week when they let match winning half time leads dwindle through concentration lapses.
There were no such hiccups in the grand final, due largely to the sterling work of the all Lae full back line of Thomas Wakon, Samuel Kenjau and Joe Mondo.
NQ were held scoreless and PNG went into the last break with a 33 point lead: PNG 7.3.(45) to NQ 2.0 (12).
When pacy winger Paniel Penias (Lae) goaled early in the last quarter the game was sealed.
In a dominant display NQ were held scoreless again and the Binatangs ran out easy 54 point victors.
The Binatangs 10.6 (66) defeated North Queensland 2.0 (12)
The victory caps a good year for the AFLPNG Coca-Cola Talent Pathway with the U16 Binatangs winning the South Pacific Cup by 10 goals back in April.