By KEITH PUARIA
PORT Moresby rugby union kicked off its pre-season on a sour note with matches played at the Bava Park on Saturday.
Saturday’s quality on-field rugby, turned rotten, as constant verbal abuse of a referee by a supporter of one particular club, turned a good rugby day, non-rugby like.
On the field, Brothers proved too strong in both their matches, nailing a young Harlequins side 20-0, and eventually edged a trying Valley Hunters, 15-12, on their way to the top of their pool.
University’s season opener saw glimpses of a possible return to form for the season by mainstays, George Oki and Ella Ora. The Piggies neatly beat struggling Royals 19-5 and handed Kone Sharks a 36-0 whitewash.
The other winners of the day were Chiefs over Hunters 15-14 and LaSallians over Royals 22-0, while Defence sent Kone Sharks back to Konedobu empty handed from their two games 22-7.
The main game of the day, however, relieved last year’s memories of Wanderers round two head-hunt, holding on to beat last season’s premiers Harlequins 10-7.
Frank Makanuey’s boys, beefed up by new recruit in PNG Pukpuks and former Defence man Aaron Miai, battled hard in the first half to keep their opponents within reach, 7-5 at half time and then grinded for their match-winning try in the final 15 minutes.
The win was sweet for the maroon outfit as they march into the race for pre-season honours.
In the women’s matches, a no-show by Wanderers gave Brothers and University free points, before both teams went head-to-head, with Brothers eventually tipping the blue shirts, 15-12.
Former champions, Defence, again began this year with a bang 25-5 over LaSallians. LaSallians, however, regathered momentum, to run over their Bomana sisters, Royals, 10-7.