The National, Monday July 16th, 2012
By GABRIEL LAHOC
THE Digicel Cup rugby league match between TNA Simbu Lions and host Snax Lae Tigers was a dour encounter which did not produce the desired results both teams drew 16-16.
The Tigers’ last home game was played on a sodden field.
However, both sides kept the confrontations within the laws of the game after Week 12’s violence.
Lions halfback Willie Guambo, who was heavily involved, was awarded the man of the match.
Lions fullback Maxi Kii and his counterpart Michael Gawi performed well after scoring their team’s opening tries.
Gawi’s try was not converted by halfback Mai Tom, who potted a penalty minutes earlier in the first quarter.
Tom grabbed another penalty goal to put the Tigers in front for the first time in the second quarter, but failed to convert winger Richard Reto’s try which brought the score line to 12-6.
Lions’ captain Radley Brawa was inspirational and was rewarded with a try after he pounced on a loose ball after a fumbled by the Tigers on their try line.
Gumbo failed to convert the try resulting in the hosts going into the break leading 12-10.
After a halftime pep talk, the Pierre Vandom-coached Lions came back into the second half with all guns blazing, which saw Guambo backing up a break to score under the posts.
His conversion gave the visitors a 16-12 lead over the Tigers, who unlike their usual aggression, kept their composure under captain Sydney Fred and vice-captain Mark Mexico.
Mexico, from whom plenty was expected, proved a handful in attack and improved his ball handling in particular which resulted in him setting up his unmarked centre, Willie Minoga, for the equalising score.
Halfback Tom, who had the opportunity as a possible match winner, failed in his most important kick of the game which saw the score tied at 16-16.