Hunters rumble

The National,Monday July 4th, 2016

PAPUA New Guinea Hunters fullback Bland Abavu starred in his side’s 40-10 win over the Tweed Heads Seagulls yesterday.
The 26-year-old used his 195cm tall, 96kg  frame well in an all-round performance that started when the Koiari man saved a certain try in the 10th minute by knocking the ball loose from Timothy Cassidy’s grasp as he crossed the line at Piggabeen Sports Oval, Tweed Heads, NSW.
Abavu came up with another gem in the 27th minute when he wrapped up Tweed fullback Alex Grant a metre short of the line after the No.1 reeled in a great offload from second-rower Cory Blair eight metres out.
Abavu’s defence was indicative of a determined SP Hunters outfit who were bent on coming away with the two competition points from their round 17 clash against the second-last Seagulls, whom they had beaten 20-18 in round 3.
Abavu’s two tries were part of a five-try second-half blitz by the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored side after they led 10-4 at halftime courtesy of tries to centre Justin Olam and wing Adex Wera, with five-eighth Ase Boas kicking one conversion.
Sam Saville scored for the home side in the 31st minute after his side had gained the momentum and the Hunters defence was in disarray.
The Seagulls were first on the board in the second stanza though five-eighth Samuel Irwin scoring a four-pointer in the 54th minute and Michael Burgess to draw level.
The nuggety No.6 burrowed his way over the line taking advantage of a quick play-of-the-ball by back-rower Matthew Robinson.
But that was the only action the Tweed would see in the half save for a brief skirmish earlier in the 49th minute that was sparked by Hunters halfback Watson Boas and Irwin getting caught up in a push-and-shove that draw players from both sides.
Spurred on by the incident, the Hunters went up another gear with Abavu scooping up a fumble by Tweed No.1 Grant to plant the ball over the line before reserve forward Tuvi Lepan sliced through some poor goal line defence to push the Hunters out to a 22-10 lead.
Thompson Teteh was on the end of a Wera flick pass after the Seagulls let a suspect Watson Boas grubber bounce one time too many.
Benjamin Hetra barged over for the Hunters sixth try of the afternoon in the 75th minute while Abavu fittingly scored the last try gliding down the left edge on a 35m run with defenders hanging off him.
Ase Boas kicked six goals and had a good day with the boot in general play setting up Olam’s try with a grubber.
The Hunters maintained third spot on the ladder with the victory and have a bye next round. With the Townsville Blackhawks and the Redcliffe Dolphins losing Michael Marum’s side is eyeing a top three spot with seven games left in the regular season.
Tweed Heads Seagulls 10 (Sam Saville, Samuel Irwin tries; Michael Burgess con) PNG Hunters 40 (Justin Olam, Adex Wera, Bland Abavu 2, Tuvi Lepan, Benjamin Hetra, Thompson Teteh tries; Ase Boas 6 con)
Results: Sat, July 2 –  Jets 32 Capras 20, Cutters 26 Falcons 18, Dolphins 10 WM Seagulls 11; Sun, July 3: Devils 16 Tigers 40, Magpies 30 Blackhawks 12, TH Seagulls 10 PNG Hunters 40. Bye: Pride, Bears.