By KEITH PUARIA
TEAM Morobe clinched gold in determined spirits in the PNG Games rugby sevens grand final yesterday, a day after winning the rugby league nines title at the same ground.
Morobe, coming off shaky pool matches the previous day with an overall fifth placing, edged the flamboyant Team Western in the cup quarter- finals 19-12.
They then beat Team East New Britain in the semis on their way to their electrifying 12-7 win over NCD in the final.
The side consisting only of PNG sevens squad trialists Neil Wimbi, Narboth Yawing and the new generation of Morobe rugby, kept all possession tight as well as defence, against a star-studded NCD side.
Team NCD boasting experienced campaigners Charlie Maips, Adeck Naio and Koini Kidi could not do enough, however, to bring about any difference on the scoreboard.
Game locked at 0-0 before halftime, both sides came back determined to break the “duck”, finally coming through a converted try to reserve back Joshua Tamanabae.
Morobe playmaker Jackson Pato worked a little magic for their first try, this was followed with simple draw passes to keep an already tiring NCD on the run.
The Lae-based side scored with only a minute left on the clock and hung on until the final hooter to win gold.
In the other medal finals, Team Eastern Highlands after almost leaving the grounds without playing the game, returned to the grounds to beat Team East New Britain for the bronze 13-12.
The other minor finals were the plate, won by Team Western, and the bowl won by Bougainville.
The two-day tournament with the opportunity to unearth new talent and potential brought out irregular rugby
playing centres and players, giving these games its true meaning at the end of the day.
And while Team NCD will look back and say “it was ours for the taking”, Team Sepik, Team Southern Highlands, Team Eastern Highlands, Team Western Highlands, Team Western, Team New Ireland, Team East New Britain, Team West New Britian and Bougainville all showed cause for the games in Rabaul/Kokopo, East New Britain.