TELIKOM PNG International Kumul fullback David Mead produced a spectacular performance which enabled his team to beat the Resident Kumuls 24-20 in the Telikom Place of Origin rugby league challenge at Kagamuga Showground in Mt Hagen on Saturday.
Mead, who earlier said he would give 100% to retain his spot in the Kumuls team for SP Brewery Pacific Cup later this month, lived up to his words.
He exhibited his trade mark NRL explosive skills in both attack and defence that kept a boisterous crowd on their toes throughout the game each time he touched the ball.
The 20-year-old part Central, part Australian put all his NRL forged skills on display and did not disappoint.
The parochial crowd erupted each time he contested to safely defuse bombs put up by the Residents.
Mead also scored the opening try for the overseas-based Kumuls and pulled off a spectacular try-saving tackle in the 70th minute on Residents reserve back and England-based Menzie Yere preventing a possible runaway try.
The game was used to select a 19-man squad for the Pacific Cup tournament and the Residents big guns Yere, Charlie Wabo, Simon Young, Rodney Pora, Sigfred Gande, George Moni, Francis Ray with centres Larsen Marabe and Jessie Joe Parker meant business right from the kick-off and kept their International opponents in their own territory for a good 15 minutes.
Pora and Young were in devastating form and constantly terrorised the lighter International pack with their straight, hard running.
The Residents were the first to score through Parker eight minutes into the game and led 4-0 after halfback Mai Tom’s boot failed to convert.
However, never to be intimidated by the Residents, the Internationals pack re-grouped and come out firing with man of the match Jason Chan, James Nightingale, Jay Aston, Tyson Martin, Jack Cooper and Rod Griffin all taking the ball forward, making inroads into the Residents’ territory.
In the 22nd minute, a sweeping move saw Mead outpace the Residents cover to score which captain John Wilshere successfully converted from the sideline for the Internationals to take the lead 6-4.
However, Yere who came off the bench scored an unconverted try in the 35th minute for the Residents to narrowly lead 8-6.
A minute before the break, another good piece of ball work saw Chan barge his way through some confused Residents defenders to score in the far right end corner.
Wilshere again collected the extras from another difficult position for the Internationals to lead 12-8 at the break.
Parker scored his second try four minutes into the second frame and converted himself to lead 14-12 until the Internationals replied later when centre Ryan Tongia stepped his way through under the uprights.
The try resulted from a break by nippy winger Joe Bond.
Wilshere again converted and they led 18-14.
In the 58th minute, Internationals’ hard working lock Rod Griffin scored to extend their lead to 24-14 with another successful conversion.
With time running out, Yere used his experience to break clear only to be brought to the ground metres short of try-line by Mead.
However, in the ensuing play, winger Ham Tee scored for the Residents to narrow the gap to 20-24 after Joe Parker picked up the extras.
Just as soon as the fulltime siren sounded, all hell broke loose when fans jumped over the inner fence and flooded the field to get a chance to meet the Internationals.
They overpowered security guards and swamped around the International players, some even hosting them on their shoulders.
Organisers and security guards stood helplessly and watched until police brought the situation under control.
Just before half time, police were forced to use tear gas to disperse a rowdy crowd still waiting outside the gate and wanting to gain free entry to watch the match.