The National, Monday July 22nd, 2013
By JOHN PANGKATANA
A STIRRING comeback by the Goroka Lahanis gave them a 24-20 win over the Port Moresby Vipers yesterday.
The Round 15 Digicel Cup rugby league clash at the Lloyd Robson Oval yesterday was a tale of two halves.
The Eastern Higlanders muscled their way back from a 20-0 halftime deficit.
The fightback was led by five-eighth Noel Zeming and backrower Supa Kokote.
They featured prominently in the Lahanis’ second half revival with Kokote’s surges putting his side on the front foot coupled with Zeming’s direction.
In the earlier match of the double-header in the nation’s capital, the Enga Mioks hit form with a polished performance to beat the Gulf Isapea 24-16, to the delight of coach Timothy Lepa.
The win allows Mioks coach Timothy Lepa a chance to breathe easier as they move from fifth to third, needing one more win to secure a finals berth.
The Lahanis should ride an easy wave to nail down the minor premiership with their three remaining matches on home soil. A relieved Lahanis coach Michael Moses yesterday said they learned some valuable lessons from the Vipers’ barnstorming first half performance.
“They had us in trouble with their compressed defence so we opened up our game and had them on the back foot out wide,” Moses said.
“The players showed a lot of courage to fightback and I have to make special mention of Supa Kokote for some of his inspirational runs.
“In the backs, our winger turned five-eighth Noel Zeming stepped up, especially against an experienced Vipers line-up.”
The Vipers looked to have the match sewn up at halftime with a tries from workaholic Sebastian Pandia, winger Gary Lo and a double to form fullback Josiah Abavu.
And then they went to sleep and never woke up as the Lahanis came out of their slumber to return the favour from the opening minute of the second half with a try to reserve Leo Fred, before fullback Adex Wera ran off a bulldozing run from Kokote to score their second try.
Zeming sliced through to score before stylish finisher Felix Tatsim breached the Vipers right side defence for their fourth try.
By then the shell-shocked Vipers were gone.