By LARRY ANDREW
THE Goroka Lahanis claimed their first victory of the Digicel Cup season with a 34-32 win over the Central Dabaris at the Lae Rugby League Ground yesterday.
In the other Lae fixture, the Rabaul Gurias leapfrogged the Hela Wigmen – who lost 12-26 to the Vipers in Port Moresby – and Mendi Muruks into second spot with a 22-12 win over the Enga Mioks.
The win saw the Michael Moses-coached Lahanis leapfrog Gulf Isou and the Mt Hagen Eagles, who remain the only side without a point in the competition after five rounds, into 10th spot in the 12-team competition.
The Lahanis were the first to score with a try to winger Jordan Millie who gathered a loose ball off Dabaris fullback Junior Gibson.
Captain and rake Charlie Buka made sure of the conversion to give the Eastern Highlanders a 6-0 lead.
The Lahanis added another try through centre Tassy Kawage, with Buka adding the extra for a 12-0 lead.
But the Dabaris, in the first away match of the season, replied with an unconverted try off the scrum through centre Junior Vick.
Dabaris’ Sebastian Gaudi and Gairo Kapana added a try each to take the lead for the first time in the match. Junior Belo managed just one conversion.
The Lahanis regained the lead (18-14) with a converted try through winger Manu Solly before Gibson scored a converted try under the uprights after a dropout by the Goroka outfit.
The Dabaris went into the break with a 20-18 lead.
In the second half, a turnover saw Kapana scoring his second converted try to give a Dabaris a 26-18 lead but the Lahanis fought back with Millie completing his double.
The Bintangor-sponsored Lahanis scored another try with halfback Joseph Karara sending interchange forward Christopher Urakusie over near the uprights.
Buka made sure of the conversion to regain the lead for the Lahanis.
The Dabaris set a nail-biting finish when second-rower Rex Kaupa crossed over under the uprights and Belo added the extra two points for a 32-28 lead.
But the Lahanis had the last laugh when fullback Absolom Lingas, deciding to run the ball on the last tackle, scored a converted try under the uprights.
Results: Lahanis 34 Dabaris 32, Gurias 22 Mioks 12, Cutters 26 Isou 8, Vipers 26 Wigmen 12.
By LARRY ANDREW