By BURI GABI
MORATA Maroons bagged the Morata State of Origin shield for 2009-10 off season after edging out Morata Blues 10-6 in a physical encounter yesterday at the Kone Tigers oval in Port Moresby.
Maroons rampaging prop forward Terry Emende’s try in the final two minutes snapped the victory for the Maroons to break the six-point deadlock in the dying minutes.
It was a physical encounter from the start of the whistle, sparked with the forwards exchanging bone-crunching tackles and hit-ups, with the players from both sides putting their bodies on the line.
It was a scoreless first half as both sides withstood their territory and kept their opponents at bay.
However, there was more intensity in the second half when Maroons lost their cool and tight grip on their defensive line allowing Blues five-eighth and half combination of Noel Joel and David Simon to slip through gaps in the opponents’ defence to send their flying fullback Nelson Taita for an unconverted try.
In the 53rd minute, Maroons were penalised for a dangerous tackle in their own 10m to give away two easy points to see the blues hooker, Paul John, converting to take the lead to six points.
Maroons, sensing the game slowly slipping away, sent blockbusting forward Terry Emende, to launch their attack up the middle, ably supported by his comrades in the forwards Solo John, Moses Denpe and Waion Dirua.
The swing in the momentum favoured the Maroons as the hard running blues pack came up with ball handling errors and started to play out of their initial game plan.
Maroons captain and centre Mathies Wai was over the line in the 62nd minute when a backline move orchestrated by five-eighth Paul Mick sent his captain, who side-stepped his opponents to score a converted try to level the scores 6-6. Gideon Kesi found the uprights to level the score before Emende bagged the winning try in the dying stages to seal the match.