The National, Monday 20th May 2013
By GABRIEL LAHOC
DESPITE each team scoring three tries, Lae Tigers registered their fifth home win yesterday with a 20-12 margin over Mendi Muruks thanks to four successful goals by halfback Ate Bine Wabo and hooker Noel Joel.
It was a gallant effort on a wet track at the Lae rugby league ground from the Julian O’Neill-coached Muruks outfit who despite lacking good kickers made their host work hard throughout.
Tigers winger George Benson, who is in his best form after debuting for the Hagen Eagles last year, scored in the sixth minute, centre Willie Mingou continued his try-scoring form with another in the 17th minute while lock Ishmael Balkawa scored in the 78th minute.
The toast of the Muruks was winger Nathan Gary who gave a hard time to his opposite in Benson when he beat him twice to score in the 20th and 48th minutes while his captain Wesley Benny barged over for their third in the last quarter of the match.
Wabo converted the first Tigers try and and added a penalty while Joel potted a conversion and a penalty.
Muruks replacement five-eighth Dicksie Ani failed in all his attempts at goal.
Former Rabaul Gurias and current Tigers five-eighth Rolly Matatlau, who returned after some weeks out of action teamed up perfectly with fullback Thompson Teteh, Mingou and Benson in executing their second-man plays which resulted in the first two tries.
While O’Neill was fuming on the sidelines on what he saw as poor refereeing by Joe Peregua, the match turned ugly in the 68th minute when former Muruks workaholic turned Tigers prop, Roy Kela was upended by his opposite Winbert Kembo who was sin-binned.
Even after the final hooter, a bewildered O’Neill faced Peregua at the sideline to point out his displeasure.
Tigers 20 (G. Benson, W.Mingou, I. Balkawa tries; C. Wabo con 1, pen 1; N. Joel con 1, pen 1) Muruks 12 (N. Gary 2, W. Benny 1 tries).