Tumbe muscle up in second half to see off Cutters


WAGHI Tumbe produced a strong second-half performance to claim a 26-10 victory against Kimbe Cutters in round five of the Digicel Cup at the Lae Rugby League Ground on Sunday.
The main game of Lae’s double-header saw veteran Tumbe lock Supa Kokote laying the platform for captain Joe Frank to open the scoring with an unconverted try two minutes in.
It took the Cutters 31 minutes to get off the mark as Richard Mautu gathered a loose ball deep in his own territory and raced 70m to score near the uprights, but No.7 Justin Joka missed an easy conversion.
Kokote crashed over for a try three minutes into the second half and No.6 Saki Peter added the extras to help Tumbe regain the lead (10-4).
With the ball going dead in the in-goal, a quick 20m tap by John Ongul saw the centre kicking the ball through and re-gathering possession before he found Mautu to score under the uprights.
Cutters No.6 Tony Ponda made sure of the conversion to level the scores at 10-10 in the 54th minute.
Tumbe, however, responded with an unconverted try in the 68th minute for a 14-10 lead and added another four minutes later when Saki put in a fifth-tackle grubber for his teammate to score.
Halfback David Joseph converted the extras to extend Tumbe’s lead to 20-10.
A failed short goal-line drop-out by the Cutters saw Peter producing a cut-out pass for Frank who found winger Robert Koronos to score on the left edge. Joseph sealed the win with a fantastic sideline conversion.
Cutters coach Lucas Samak told The National that he was unable to make changes during the match as they were light on the bench.
“A few of my men are injured and we need to monitor them,” he said.
“I’m pretty happy with the first half. But with players down on the bench, I couldn’t make changes which wore down most of my men and cost us the game.”
Tumbe coach Baundo Aba said: “We still have a lot of areas to work on.
“Many of my players switched off in patches of the match and we weren’t able to complete most of our sets.
“We still need to work on our defence as the Cutters were strong in the first half.”