HARLEQUINS are the new kings of Port Moresby rugby union after claiming a 26-11 victory over NCS Defence in the season’s grand final yesterday afternoon.
“It’s a relief,” coach Robert Doko sighed at the end of the game yesterday.
“We’ve put this together over the past three years and these boys deserve every bit of this win,” he said.
In the grand final witnessed by nearly 3,000 rugby fans yesterday, the match kicked off with both sides determined to gain the upper hand as they traded attacks in the first 15 minutes.
Defence seemed the better side in those opening minutes keeping Harlequins pinned in their half.
However, the points were hard to come by as constant ball handling errors and wrong options denied them the advantage.
Harlequins, in a chance raid down their opposition’s half and posted the first points on the board through winger Raiqarawa Moere, but were on the back foot again when Defence’s first five Titus Lunguni dropped over their line for a try.
Harlies scored again through their forwards towards the end of first half, taking them to the break 12-8 up.
The second half saw Defence’s loosies Consie Bais, David Moses and Joshua Posu leading the assault against the Harlies led by Avosa Kaipu and Tommy Kivu and kept all action on the halfway line.
Trailing by four points halfway through the second stanza, Defence narrowed the margin when fullback Tisa Kautu converted a penalty to notch the scores at 12-11.
With the one point difference, the game went to the wire as the Lunguni and Harlies’ Jacob Jesse plied their trade to gain the upper hand.
However, it was man of the match Kivu who put Harlies ahead when he broke free in Defence’s 22m mark to cross the line prompting a frenzy all around Bava, sinking even the non-Defence supporter.
Replacement and veteran Gary Iga then pounced on a Defence dropped ball two minutes later to seal the game and the premiership.
The champions also claimed the B and A Grade division trophies, whilst the Under-20 honours went to Wanderers.
In the women’s final, Chiefs finally broke Defence’s supremacy with a thrilling 24-19 victory.