Mioks nail top three with gutsy victory

The National, Monday July 11th, 2016

THE Enga Mioks recorded their sixth straight win on Sunday in Wabag edging the Simbu Lions 22-20 at Aipus Oval.
The win sees the Enga provincial government-backed side consolidate their spot in the top three with a bye and games against the Hela Wigmen (home) and Waghi Tumbe (away) left in the regular season.
The home side had more than they could handle from the Lions, who refused to buckle and Gerard Phillip’s men could have come out victors if not for a second half fight back from the Mioks.
The Lions scored first through fullback John Simon with halfback Rex Maima kicking the extras for a 6-0 lead.
The Mioks responded with a penalty to trail 6-2 and could not score a try until a minute before halftime when centre Martin Bomai crossed for the equaliser.
In the second stanza, the Lions were again the first to score through captain Radley Brawa with Maima knocking over the conversion for a 12-6 lead. Maima added a penalty to get his side to 14-6 in front.
Mioks winger Billy Las scored on the 60th minute with the momentum swinging back to the home side and they trailed 14-10.
Mioks hooker Priestly Soto scored another unconverted try and five-eighth Philemon Taim converted for his side to take the lead (16-14) for the first time.
Lions centre Nelson Wallen replied with a try which Maima converted to give his side a  20-16 lead with four minutes left on the clock.
The home side were not to be denied as they through everything at the Lions in the final minutes to keep their unbeaten home record in 2016 intact.
Their prayers were answered by forward Randy Joseph, who bulldozed his way over with just over a minute remaining in the game.
Taim kicked the winning points and to all but ensure the Enga side will play finals football in 2016.