Hunters blown away

Sports

THE SP PNG Hunters’ season went from bad to worse yesterday as the Burleigh Bears thrashed the visitors 56-4 to retain the Kokoda Cup.
The Round 8 Intrust Super Cup fixture scheduled on Anzac Day at Pizzey Park, Gold Coast, held particular significance for both sides but only the home side enjoyed a memorable 80 minutes while Michael Marum’s side plunged to new depths, suffering their biggest loss in their six-year history – a 10 tries to one massacre.
The 52-point losing margin was bigger than their 60-28 (32-point margin) loss to the Tweed Heads Seagulls in 2014.
The loss sees the Hunters firmly anchored to the bottom rungs in the second to last spot on the ISC standings with 2 points (a points differential of -126) and the prospect of a long and trying season ahead.
The Bears used their big men to gain traction up the middle third constantly keeping the Hunters defence on the back foot. The hosts played most of the match in the Hunters half and that territorial advantage paid off as the game progressed as the Burleigh men broke down the Hunters one-dimensional defence with uncomfortable regularity.
Bears halfback Jamal Fogarty was the star of the show kicking eight goals and scoring a brace of late tries to finish with a 24-point haul. Winger Troy Leo was the next best scorer for the Bears with a try to cap off each half.
Kumul prop Luke Page, who captained the Bears, led by example with several barnstorming carries that left Hunters defenders strewn in his wake as well as crossing for a four-pointer in the second half.
The game got off to an ominous start for the visitors when Bears winger Brenko Lee stood up the usually reliable Junior Rau in a one-on-one to cross in the seventh minute.
After that the Bears crossed the chalk at regular intervals posting three more tries to take a 22-0 lead into halftime before continuing the onslaught in the second stanza with six more tries.
The Hunters had one bright spot in the 51st minute when Brandon Nima benefited from a Joe Joshua extra-man play where the fullback chimed into the backline to put his centre into open spaces for a try.
Burleigh Bears 56 (Brenko Lee, Josh Ailaomai, Hayden Schwass, Troy Leo 2, Sami Sauiluma, Luke Page, Jamal Fogarty 2, Jordan Scott tries; Jamal Fogarty 8 con) PNG Hunters 4 (Brandon Nima try).
Fixtures: Rd 8 – Sat, April 27: Easts Tigers v Redcliffe Dolphins, Townsville Blackhawks v CQ Capras, Sunshine Coast Falcons v Mackay Cutters, Norths Devils v Northern Pride; Sun, April 28: Souths Logan Magpies v Wynnum Manly Seagulls , Tweed Heads Seagulls v Ipswich Jets.

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