By ZACHERY PER
SIKE Wake Hawks walked away with the K10,000 prize money and the Joe Mek Teine Cup after defeating defending champions TC Dragons 17-13 at Dickson rugby league grounds in Kundiawa, Simbu province, on Sunday.
Hawks scored three tries, picked up four points from a conversion, a penalty kick and a field goal to claw the Dragons who managed two converted tries and a penalty kick.
Dragons, who won last year’s Coca-Cola Ipatas Cup, defended their title but could not stand the pressure from Hawks.
Hawks centre Andrew Sipil opened the scorebook five minutes from the start with a converted try to put Hawks 6-0 ahead.
Dragons boosted with experienced off-season campaigners John Kinde, Ivan Joe, Steven Joe, Waikson Bal, Thomson Kuiwa and Moscow Charlie replied with a converted try to inside centre Sheriff Kongo to level the scores.
Dragons then surged ahead with two points from a penalty kick to Kuiwa, but Hawks retaliated through Teka Kawagle with a penalty kick to lock the scores at 8-8 at half time.
In the second half, Hawks picked up tries through Sipil and Philip Kupo and a field goal to Kerry Kawagle to claim the Cup.
Hawks coach Stenacker Gimbol said his side were undefeated throughout and win the grand final was an icing on the cake.
“Last year, we lost in the semi-final and now managed to win. I thank Mondo Clothing, Wera Mori for sponsoring us, the supporters and Mek Teine for providing the opportunity,” Gimbol said.
Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Joe Mek Teine, who was the sponsor for the competition, presented K10,000 and trophy to Hawks while the runners-up Dragons settled for K5,000.
The top eight clubs also received cash prizes.
“We will make Kundiawa become the best rugby league centre in the Highlands region and I will continue to sponsor the competition next year. It is expected to be bigger and better,” Teine said.