By ZACHERY PER
THE Mendi Muruks extended the Goroka Lahanis’ wretched season with a 30-16 home defeat of the Eastern Highlanders on Sunday.
The Digicel Cup round 12 fixture at the Sir Danny Leahy Oval was supposed to be the Peter Warlock-coached side’s chance for redemption but instead turned into nightmare for fans as their side slumped to a 14-point loss, their ninth of the season, and ensured they stayed anchored to the bottom of the ladder on six points.
Muruks centre Oliver Kerry scored a try in each half to help his side to their fourth win of the season.
Muruks Obert Koim stood out for the visitors in the pack, continuously gaining valuable yardage with every hit-up.
Fellow Muruks Robert Shix, Towari Konake, Jackson Undi and Nathan Anda put in commendable performances as well.
The home side were the first to open the scoring, with prop Eddie Dafa crossing after a mistake by the Muruks. Felix Tatsim converted and the Nokondis were 6-0 up.
Muruks hooker Toare Konake muscled his way past a wall of defenders to touch down and Welsey Vali levelled the scores with his conversion.
Vali and Kerry bagged tries as the Muruks took control with a 16-6 lead at halftime.
The Lahanis were without star fullback Francis Takai (thigh) and centre Brendan Nema but that wasn’t any excuse for the poor form on show from the men in red and white.
Koim added his name to the scoresheet for a comfortable 22-6 lead after Vali nailed the sideline conversion.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic as the Lahanis did have a chance to hit back early in the second half but Charlie Buka fumbled the ball.
Former Hunters prop Gonzella Urakusie barged over next to the posts and Tatsim added the extras for the Eastern Highlanders to trail 22-12.
Muruks Boas Minape crossed over for an unconverted try to extend the lead 26-12 but to their credit, the home side refused to throw in the towel, with captain John Arme scoring to narrow the gap to 16-26.
An intercept try to Muruks was disallowed but it made little difference as the Southern Highlanders put the final seal on the match, with Kerry bagging his second four-pointer of the afternoon.
By ZACHERY PER