It is important to respect any team


Hello everyone, welcome to the 30th ‘Churchie’s Comment’ for the year in your favourite rugby league newspaper — The National.
THE Hunters flew to Rockhampton on Saturday to battle Central Queensland Capras. The Capras are the cellar dwellers but their ladder position belies their potential.
They are the only team that have less game experience than the Hunters in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup competition. The Capras are similar in performances throughout the year also, their inexperience means they will be competitive but generally fade out late in matches — something we have done regularly this season.
We wanted to start fast and we did so, scoring three tries in the first 15 minutes. Part of our game plan was to move the Capras defence around, disturb their line and play through them. Another key component was that we wanted to build pressure through our kicking game.
We really squeezed them early with great kicking, our first kick landed just in front of the tryline and from there the Hunters’ defensive pressure made the Capras turn over the ball. With us now back in possession, we scored on that set of six, however, the set organisation and our play was nothing to be happy about.
From the kick-off, we completed our set, kicked high and their fullback dropped the ball. We then put together a better set and Edwin Ipape scored to lead 8-0. We got a penalty in the kick-off set, then got a repeat set as Capras knocked down the ball. We failed to take advantage of the extra set and turned over the ball close to the tryline.
Capras completed their set and with the Hunters coming out of their own end, Ase Boas put in a 40/20 attempt. The Capras fullback batted it back in field and scrambled to get to it. Solo Wane came from nowhere to toe the ball ahead and dived on it in the in-goal to score. The Hunters took a 14-0 lead, built through pressure off completing six out of seven sets and kicked extremely well.
From there, it’s like we had forgotten our game plan, as we then gave up five intercepts, dropped balls and either ran or got taken over the sideline on four occasions. That is like gifting the ball back to the opposition and handing them momentum.
There was a 10-minute period when Junior Rau was binned for a dangerous throw and the Hunters were down to 12 men and we did not complete a set in that time. We defended well enough not to concede any points but we applied way too much pressure on ourselves as simple mistake upon simple mistake crept into our game.
After completing at 85 per cent in the first 15 minutes, we went on to only complete 50 per cent of our next 30 sets. It was one of the most frustrating times on the sideline, watching that all unfold before your eyes.
The match result will say we won, but it certainly didn’t feel like that winning feeling in the sheds after the game. I can’t explain it, maybe we were just thinking we’d roll up and win the game. I don’t think you can call that being complacent, we haven’t earned the right to be complacent yet.
To me, it showed a lack of respect, we didn’t respect our opposition enough to give them the credit they deserved.
We didn’t respect the ball, we didn’t respect our teammates by wilfully handing possession back to our opposition. It’s not the type of performance we want the Hunters to be known for.
Despite those frustrations, Boas moved to second on the all-time representation list for the Hunters to play 116 games. He moved past Adex Wera (115) to sit only behind current teammate Wartovo Puara Jr on that list.
Boas has been a great servant for the Hunters, a long-term captain and player of the match in the 2017 grand final.
We had Puara present the jersey to him prior to the match and it was great to hear Ase speak about how much representing the Hunters meant to him.
I like the whole team to take pride in the fact that if a milestone means something to one of us, it should mean something to all of us. We should rise to the occasion and play well to respect a player’s significant contribution to our club.
Despite it not being the performance we would have like, I’m really happy that we got a win to honour his services to the Hunters.
All of us here at the Hunters, we would like to wish the Lae Tigers and Waghi Tumbe all the best for this weekend’s Digicel Cup grand final. It’s a tremendous achievement for both franchises. May you both play to your best abilities in what is sure to be another fantastic advertisement for PNG rugby league.
Until next week, stay safe, play safe and let’s all respect and be kind to each other.