The National, Monday March 17th, 2014
By PETER SEVARA Jr.
THE Papua New Guinea Hunters paid back their pre-season loss to the Central Queensland Capras with interest, thrashing the visitors 46-14 at the Kalabond Oval in Kokopo on Saturday.
Noel Zemming starred off the bench scoring 20 points which included a try double and six goals from as many attempts in a master class in the eight-try rout.
The win sees the undefeated South Pacific Brewery-sponsored side move to second place on the Intrust Super Cup ladder after the third round of matches. The Northern Pride, also on six points, claims the top spot with a slightly better points differential.
Michael Marum’s charges, beaten 30-18 in a pre-season fixture at Browne Park, Rockhampton, last month, literally ran rings around the much larger Capras pack that boasted several monsters in Arlin Paki (189cm, 123kg), Sam Pierce (195cm, 115kg) and Adam Dale (183cm, 114kg).
Marum’s reliance on a smaller, faster and fitter pack proved a master stroke as the famous “Graveyard” claimed its second victim in as many weeks as the tiring Australians succumbed to nippier hosts.
With David Loko, Willie Minoga, Esau Siune, and late call-up, Gonzella Urakusie clamping down the ruck, an inspired Wartovo Puara Junior made the Capras’ ruck defence look like Swiss cheese.
The 23-year-old rake was a nightmare for the Capras, tearing up the ruck with incisive runs and short offloads, constantly putting his side on the front foot. For one of the smallest players on the field he seemed a giant with all of the Hunters play evolving from his first touch.
Nuggety winger George Benson and Zemming bagged doubles on a day that saw much better playing conditions than the rain-affected match against Mackay the previous round.
David Loko was in devastating form, punching holes in the Capra defence while menacing their runners with some savage tackling.
The Capras opened the scoring with a try to Grant Rogers and conversion by halfback Theeran Pearson six minutes into the first half but it was not long before try-scoring machine, Thompson Teteh leveled the a converted try.
Capras Rhys Williams grabbed a double but it was never going to be enough. The score looked respectable, 22-10 in favor of the Hunters at half time but blew out in the second half, as Zemming dazzled, Minoga ran in untouched after a Puara break and halfback Roger Laka scooted over in the far corner in a convincing victory.
The post try celebration of the day went to Adex Wera as the fullback went down on one knee, drew his bow and let fly to the delight of the home fans. Results: Saturday, March 15 – Ipswich Jets 32 Wynnum Manly Seagulls 22, Png Hunters 46 Cq Capras 14, Northern Pride 20, Redcliffe Dolphins 12. Sunday, March 16 – Souths Logan Magpies 28 Burleigh Bears 26, Norths Devils 24 Tweed Heads Seagulls 12, Easts Tigers 50 Sunshine Coast Falcons 6.
Standings: Northern Pride 6, PNG Hunters 6, Souths Logan Magpies 6, Norths Devils 6, Easts Tigers 4, Ipswich Jets 4, Wynnum Manly Seagulls 4, Burleigh Bears 2, Redcliffe Dolphins 2, Mackay Cutters 2, Tweed Heads Seagulls 0, CQ Capras 0, Sunshine Coast Falcons 0.