Hunters clip Gulls

Normal, Sports

The National, Monday June 22nd, 2015

 THE Papua New Guinea Hunters held off a fast-finishing Tweed Heads Seagulls 32-24 to bring up their eighth straight win in the Queensland Cup Round 15 rugby league clash yesterday. 

Coach Michael Marum said his side did well to come away with the win over a determined Seagulls outfit at Piggabeen Oval in Tweed Heads.

“We did well to win this one,” Marum said of his third-placed side. 

“It was a tough ask against a side like Tweed, who are good at home, but I’m happy with the effort from the boys.

“It was a long trip down to Tweed and the apart from the long trip the weather was a bit cold as well.”

Marum, pictured, said despite making fewer errors than last week’s match, his side had let some soft tries but he was pleased with the discipline shown in a match that had some niggle.

“We let in some soft tries but overall I thought our discipline was good. 

“We showed the crowd that we can play.”

Apart from continuing their impressive winning streak, the match marked a milestone for goal-kicking centre Noel Zeming, who scored his 200th Q-Cup point during the game.

Marum said Zeming was one of the team’s most reliable performers and had another solid game on the left edge.

“He’s really important for us.  

“He only missed one goal today — which was from the sideline — but he kicked everything else which is what is expected. 

“He does all the little things right in attack and on defence and rarely makes a mistake.” Seagulls winger Nathaniel Barnes put his name in the record books when he scored his 100th Q-Cup try right on the halftime siren. 

The Hunters enjoyed a 14-10 halftime lead thanks to tries to Wartovo Puara Jr and Brandy Peter, while Zeming converted both tries and added a penalty in the 36th minute.

The Seagulls had the ascendency in the middle third for most of the opening half, with their big pack led by captain Damian Sironen making in-roads at every turn despite conceding the first try to Puara.

Tweed winger Leva Li picked up the scraps after a bomb was allowed to bounce in the Hunters’ 20m area and got his side on the board in the 14th minute.

Black Anderson added the extras to lock the scores at 6-6. 

Eliab provided a neat off-load in a tackle for Peter to crash over near the uprights for the visitors to take a 12-6 lead. 

Hunters’ lock Adam Korave escaped with a penalty after leaving Tweed No. 7 Shaun Carney dazed after a 39th minute tackle and in the ensuing set, Barnes crossed.

The second half began with a surprise tactic by the Seagulls, who gained possession from a short kick-off and Carney shook off the first half head-knock with a four-pointer.

Kalifa Faifai-Loa missed the conversion and the scores were locked at 14-14.

Puara and Teteh combined to get halfback Ase Boas over the line in the 50th minute before reserve Warren Glare benefited from an Eliab grubber and skirted the sideline to dot down in the corner. 

Zeming’s conversion attempt had the direction but not the legs, bouncing off the crossbar for Marum’s charges to surge to a 24-14 lead by the 53rd minute.

Li bagged his second of the afternoon off a cross-field kick.

Fullback Ali Grant got on the board with a try for the home side which was awarded by referee Liam Kennedy, who penalised Hunters’ No. 1 Stargroth Amean for a dangerous challenge which allowed hooker Sam Meskell to equalise with a shot in front. 

At 24-24 and with 10 minutes remaining, Puara showed his class with an individual effort from 10m out. 

The Kumul rake sliced the goal-line defence for his second try next to the post. 

Zeming then put the result beyond doubt with a 40m penalty goal after a dangerous tackle on reserve forward Willie Minoga.