SP PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum commended his side after their 18-10 round 11 win over the Central Queensland Capras.
It was their first consecutive win of the season and their fourth so far in 2018 in front of a crowd of 4935 at the Oil Search National Football Stadium.
“This is our first back-to-back win in the competition. It’s given a lot of confidence to our boys as we prepare for our next game,” Marum said.
“The Capras were very strong and aggressive. I think we were fortunate to get win in the end.
“They made a lot of errors and that let us off on several occasions while we were defending,” he added.
The visitors were first to draw points on the board with an unconverted try to burly winger Junior Kirisome in the 2nd minute for a 4-0 lead.
The home side hit back through lock Rhadley Brawa in the 13th minute.
The diminutive Brawa, who played out the 80 minutes and put out his usual high workrate, slipped over under the uprights after a deft pass from hooker Wartovo Puara Jr.
Captain Ase Boas converted to give his side a 6-4 lead. The match continued to be an arm wrestle as they swapped sets.
The injection of speedster Edene Gabbie into the game midway through the half had an impact with the 22-year-old skipping past Kirisome as the Hunters exploited an overlap in the 27th minute to dot down in the right corner for a 10-4 as Boas’ conversion attempt fell short.
The Rockhampton side came out in the second half with purpose and this coincided with former NRL star Dave Taylor looking to monster the Hunters defence.
The Capras pack was well served by props Oliver Percy, Bill Cullen and Brad Lupi, who rumbled through their sets making valuable metres in their rotation.
The aggressiveness of the Capras set up their next big play of the game as the Hunters right side was found wanting in the 56th minute when reserve Maipele Morseu bulldozed over three Hunters to score in the corner.
Capras centre Connor Broadhurst converted the try from the sideline to level the scores at 10-10.
The Capras gave the Hunters their next scoring opportunity whena back pedalling Zeik Foster dropped a swirling bomb by Ase Boas giving the home side good field position off the scrum.
Winger Junior Rau, who would go on to be named the man-of-the-match, broke through two defenders after taking a Thompson Teteh feed to put his side ahead 14-0 in the 62nd minute.
Boas uncharacteristically sprayed his conversion attempt.
The game was still in the balance heading in to the final quarter but the visitors squandered their opportunities in the Hunters half.
The Hunters were denied on two more occasions with Gabbie nearly got his second try of the day after chasing an Ase Boas hack through but referee Benjamin Watts ruled Foster had gone dead in goal.
Thompson Teteh ran into a hole to score from an Ase Boas inside ball but was called back for obstruction.
The Hunters found the closer in the 76th minute when somewhat fortuitously halfback Watson Boas reeled in an attacking grubber two metres from his try line to sprint the length of the field and score.
Ase again failed to convert the try but importantly the Hunters held an eight-point buffer over the Capras going into the final minute and a half.
Marum was a little concerned with the goal kicking of his captain saying it was something that needed to be addressed heading into next week’s round 12 clash with the Townsville Blackhawks in Port Moresby. PNG Hunters 18 (Rhadley Brawa, Edene Gabbie, Junior Rau, Watson Boas tries; Ase Boas con) CQ Capras 10 (Junior Kirisome, Maipele Morseu tries; Connor Broadhurst con).
Round 11 Results: Sat, May 19 – Bears 26 Tigers 18, Jets 32 Devils 25, Hunters 18 Capras 10, Falcons 4 Dolphins 26; Sun, May 20 – Blackhawks 26 WM Seagulls 16, TH Seagulls 28 Pride 22, Magpies 42 Cutters 30.