Goroka rising

Normal, Sports

The National, Friday July 26th, 2013

 GOROKA is set for a bumper double-header with three of the top five sides in the Lahanis, Tigers and Mioks on show in the Digicel Cup Round 16 rugby league games on Sunday.

In the first match at the National Sports Institute ground, the Eagles and Mioks, two teams that have been stripped of their home games, clash in a third versus 10th match-up.

The main clash has competition leaders Lahanis looking to carry the momentum from their come from behind win over the Port Moresby Vipers.

The Goroka men showed their fighting spirit to come back from 20-0 down to conjure up a 24-20 win.

The Tigers, on the other hand, have had a mixed bag in the five rounds with a lone 8-6 home win over the Rabaul Gurias punctuating four losses on the road. 

Last week’s 37-20 loss to the Mendi Muruks was their third in a row.

With the Lahanis more than likely to finish on top with the last two matches at home at the NSI, they are primed to show their dominance against another title contender.

After their stirring second half comeback against the Vipers coach Michael Moses does not want to experience that again.

The role of the halves, in halfback Robin Saga and wiry Noel Zeming enjoying the shift from wing to five-eighth, will play that pivotal role in ensuring the efforts of their big men is not wasted.

It is heading for another block-buster in the forward exchanges, especially with the Tigers going through a rough bout and need a big game to signify their finals aspirations.

Tigers coach Stanley Tepend will call upon his strike players in Mogi Wei Jr, Petero Sanivalu, Elvis Dick and Rex Reto in the forwards and Thomson Teteh, Willie Minoga and pocket dynamo George Benson on the wing to answer that call to rise.

In Port Moresby, the local derby will be a tester for Gulf Isapea to put on a brave face against the inform Vipers.

Isapea have no chance of making the playoffs but would certainly like to finish off the season on a high note.

The Vipers look to be hit with injuries to key personnel, but should be favoured to get their finals charge on track again.

In Kokopo, the Hela Wigmen do not look like troubling the Gurias but if they do it will break the Kalabond curse. 

In Mendi at the Joe Keviame Oval, the Mendi Muruks will look to continue where they left off last week when they trounced the Tigers when they take on a Simbu Lions side full of confidence and entertaining a top five finish.