TOYOTA Enga Mioks defeated three-time reigning champion SBS Muruks 18-7 in Lae on Sunday.
The game was witnessed by Mioks patron and ardent league follower Enga Governor Peter Ipatas, acting Enga provincial administrator Dr Samson Amean and Muruks franchise owner Tom Higgins along with bumper crowd of more than 3,000.
Muruks were first to score through right winger Sova Milfred out wide after 10 minutes through some slick ball work by a Kumul-studded Muruk line up in Joseph Oame, Anton Kui, Jessie Joe and veteran Steven Kua.
Andrew Sam collected the extras and the Southern Highlands flagship led 6-0.
In was not long before Mioks smartened up their approach and began to apply their own pressure on the faltering Muruks.
Miok three-quarter Paigu Avani crossed after good lead up work from halves James Meninga and Mai Tom.
In the second half, Muruks regained some ascendancy through a snap field goal by Kua but Mioks’ mentor Toksy Nema had laid down the right strategy when a quick tap by the Mioks confused several Muruks defenders including hit man Paulus Mondo.
Mondo gave away a penalty that started an enterprising passage of play for the Engans through Timothy Clement, Mose Lami, James Kend, Meninga and finally for Tom to send Jason Tali over the line for an un converted try and snatch a razor-thin lead, 8-7.
It seemed the game could go either way.
The unrelenting attitude of the Mioks’ Neno Construction Ltd sponsored man-of the-match Jonah McKay and Kend weakened the Muruks defence.
Mioks went in for their third try not long after for a 14-7 lead and repelled numerous Muruk raids before throwing another spanner in the works for the defending champions running in a try on the full time hooter to wrap up the match 18-7 and send coach Nema’s record to two wins and one draw from three matches in charge.