By PARKER TAMBUA
PORT Moresby Vipers ended Gulf Isou’s perfect Digicel Cup start with 28-18 win in round five at the Santos National Football Stadium in the nation’s capital yesterday.
The Moni Plus-sponsored Vipers outfit overwhelmed Isou’s defence in the first half as they scored five tries to establish a commanding 28-6 lead at halftime.
Isou only scored a consolation try in the 40th minute to trail at the break.
The Vipers’ tries were scored by Manu Soli, John Stanly, Willie Tirang, Junior Vick Kevau and Peter Mondo.
Five-eighth Yunny Patrick only failed to convert a try, but was successful with the rest.
Isou woke up from their defensive slumber in the second half as they kept the Vipers scoreless after the break.
Isou’s attack, led by five-eighth David Joseph, Michael Timothy and hooker Jerry Teme, resulted in a Woods Kawage try in the 46th minute.
Joseph’s conversion saw them trailing at 12-28.
Teme completed his double in the 58th minute as Joseph’s conversion narrowed the margin to 10 points.
The Vipers were on the back foot in the last 15 minutes as Isou continued their comeback.
But Vipers forwards, led by captain Fedro Gene, Benjamin Timothy, Philip Holmie and Rex Tandowa, made sure Isou didn’t cross the tryline for more points.
In unpleasant scenes, Vipers forward Maya Clark copped a head-knock which saw him leave the field for a head injury assessment.
Isou coach Roger Laka said their poor first-half defence made it hard for them to peg back the Vipers.
“We didn’t start well which was the problem,” he said.
“But I’m happy with how we fought our way back in the second half.
“If we had done the same from the start then it would have been good for us.”
Meanwhile, reigning champions Lae Tigers regained pole spot after their 44-12 win over Hela Wigmen at the Lae Rugby League Ground yesterday.
Results: Sat, May 21 — Gurias 26 Cutters 14; Sun, May 22 — Vipers 28 Isou 18, Muruks 18 Tumbe 12, Mioks 18 Lahanis 16, Tigers 44 Wigmen 12, Dabaris 30 Eagles 20.
By PARKER TAMBUA