The National, Monday October 14th, 2013
By JACK AMI
PORT Moresby Rugby League premiership hopefuls Souths and Tarangau march to the preliminary finals this week.
In the opening elimination, Souths were lucky to brush aside the Dobo Warriors 24-20 in a tight affair.
The Southern highlanders will now play Brothers in one of the preliminary semi-finals to decide who secures the first grand final berth for next week.
And in the main encounter, Tarangau escaped with a 20-16 win over the Kone Tigers.
The Eagles face Magani in another preliminary semi-final.
The Tigers, down 20-0 at halftime, locked up the warders by posting another 16 points in the second half but were denied a late surge.
Souths coach Tom Tiki said it was organised defence, a lower error rate and a game plan that enabled them to surprise the 2012 premiers.
The Southern Highlanders were leading 16-12 at interval with tries from W Gand, S Martin and R Lavato, all converted by N Balop and C Yambo.
The Warriors had a double from Bland Abavu and converted by Junior Belo.
In the final 40 minutes Balop scored his second try and that was converted by Lukas Mark to extend the lead to 22-12.
Warriors replied with Junior Belo’s four-pointer narrowing the gap to 22-16 with 10 minutes remaining.
But a silly infringement the in opposition territory saw Souths rewarded with a penalty and Mark made no mistake to raise the flags to increase the lead 24-16.
That was when Warriors retaliated lock Adam Korave scored wide out to trail 24-20.
And with less than a minute remaining, from restart Warriors Abavu received the pass, kicked ahead, and raced for the ball with an opposition player but intentionally pushed him without the ball.
He kicked the ball to the corner, resulting in a try on full-time but that was disallowed by referee Paul Wani.