The National, Monday 20th May 2013
By JOHN PANGKATANA
REIGNING Digicel Cup champions Rabaul Gurias have blown their top with their 64-8 thrashing over Mt Hagen Eagles.
Last weekend’s close call against the spirited Gulf Isapea was a mere speed bump on the road to the 2013 premiership.
The Kalabond oval, aptly called the ‘The Graveyard’ continues to haunt visiting teams as the Kokopo-based outfit opened the floodgates in a try-fest to annihilate the hapless Wamp Nga-sponsored company yesterday.
The Eagles had no hope against the backdrop of a Gurias back-lash, questioning themselves over their close encounter with the Gulf franchise the previous Sunday.
Coach Michael Marum last night said overall the team played well, but picked out for special mention hooker Wartovo Puara, No.7 Ase Boas, Emmanuel Toide, Mark Mexico, Joe Bruno and five-eighth Dion Aiye.
While the Gurias have got that winning feeling again, the major upset of round six was the Gulf Isapea claiming their first real major scalp in the Enga Mioks in Port Moresby.
Beating the Hela Wigmen and the Simbu Lions was expected. Beating a regular top three contender in the Mioks is a reason to celebrate.
Isapea, who were two points shy of upstaging the Gurias the previous weekend, have found their niche and the unsuspecting Mioks found themselves on the wrong end of the stick.
Isapea are no longer the team that teams usually use the opportunity to play their bench players.
The former winning Lahanis combination of Nigel Hukula and Mark Mom are beginning to show dividends and gaining a lot of praise from Port Moresby followers.
Isapea came through with a more committed second-half performance to edge out the more fancied Mioks 14-12.
Hukula believes his charges are turning a curve and are starting to gain more confidence.
Isapea stalwart Jacob Ivaroa said the Gulf team is finally playing the kind of football that they are capable of and there more wins to come.
Isapea’s latest signing in former Kumul Nixon Kolo has given them that powerful new look.
Kolo was back to his best with his damaging runs to put current Kumul training squad members Essau Siune and David Loko on notice.
In the battle of the cellar dwellers, Hela Wigmen finally clinched their first win over the luckless Lions in slippery conditions at the Joe Keviame Oval in Mendi.
The Kemele-sponsored Wigmen revelled in the leadership of veteran Joseph Omai to give their supporters something smile about with a hard-fought 20-4 win.
Coach Stanley Hondina said it was satisfying to get a win after six matches.
“Yes it was a good win but nothing to celebrate about until we give some of the stronger teams a similar dosage,” he said.
“Omai was certainly influential in the win and the rest of the players basically backed him up,” he added.
Competition leaders Lae Tigers continue their winning form beating Mendi Muruks 20-12 in Lae and in Goroka, Bintangor Lahanis served mention of their presence by beating the Vipers 22-20.