Lahanis win thriller

Normal, Sports

MORE than 8,000 people packed the Lae rugby league grounds to witness Goroka Lahanis beat Agmark Gurias 12-6 in the bemobile Cup semi-final yesterday.
The grand final between the Lahanis and minor premiers SBS Mendi Muruks will also be in Lae next Sunday.
This will be the first time since 1996 that Lae will host an inter-city grand final.
A delighted Lahanis coach Peter Danga said they had the talent to win the grand final but added the players could not afford to be complacent.
It was a game that could easily have gone Gurias’ way had it not been for two dropped balls, one of which was right over the tryline.
The Lahanis held their composure when Gurias scored an 8th minute try through winger Boas Ruru for a 6-0 lead.
Gurias with Kumuls Rodney Pora, Dion Aiye and George Moni mounted successive raids but Lahanis held out resolutly with veterans Tony Dai, Nigel Hukula and John Milba shoring up the defences.
The halftime score was 6-4 to Gurias after a Walter Hasu try.
In the second stanza, the Lahanis pressed the excellerator using Dai, Nami, Hukula and centres Joseph Peter and Hogi who started to gain momentum.
Lahanis equalised in the 60th minute through a penalty goal.
Hasu and Aiye exchanged brilliant attacking runs but the Lahanis flowed the ball across the field to the far left to see Nami give an inside ball for  Chris Hogi to dive over the line and for Awute to post the extras to lead 12-6.
The Gurias had a golden opportunity in the 72nd minute when they got a quick play that saw Kevin Frank running over the try line to give Ruru to score only for the winger to drop the ball inside the in-goal area.
Another chance came moments later when captain Pora busted the Lahanis defence and off-loaded to Moni, who also lost possession with the tryline in the clear.