Muruks eyeing Cup run


MENDI Muruks will look to pick up from where they left off after they snapped a two-game losing streak with a morale-boosting 18-12 win over last year’s Digicel Cup runners-up Waghi Tumbe in Lae on Sunday.
The Petroleum Resources Kutubu-sponsored Muruks will travel to Port Moresby for Sunday’s round-six clash with Gulf Isou, looking to hand the former ladder-leading hosts their second-straight loss at the Santos National Football Stadium.
At the Lae Rugby League Ground, the hosts opened the scoring 14 minutes in through halfback Josiah Jimmy who slotted a penalty kick after referee Max Topani ruled an obstruction against Tumbe inside their own half.
With the intensity of the match going up a notch, the body language of both teams began to show as poor ball security disrupted the flow of the match.
But Tumbe soon cracked the Muruks’ defence to send winger Daniel Toli over for an unconverted try in the 22nd minute.
Four minutes later, Muruks centre Clent Lama dashed 50m from dummy-half to score an unconverted try and wrestle the lead back for the home side before halftime.
After the break, the Muruks got off to a poor start when Topani ruled a high shot on a Tumbe player. Judah Wesley made no mistake, slotting the penalty kick to level the scores at 6-6.
Wary of Tumbe’s attack, the Muruks began to muscle up down the middle and were reward when Ismael Waine paved the way for lock Ismael Balkawa to score from dummy-half near the tryline.
Bench utility Justin Yoka added the extras to give the Muruks a 12-6 lead.
The hosts added another try through second-rower Julias Yakopa who crossed over on the right edge after a Tumbe goal-line dropout. Yoka’s conversion increased the Muruks’ lead to 18-6.
Refusing to go down without a fight, Tumbe set up Jonah Mott for a consolation try which was converted.