The National – Tuesday, June 14, 2011
DISCIPLINED football from Stop N Shop Port Moresby Vipers outclassed Hela Wigmen 24-10 in round six of the Digicel Cup in Port Moresby on Sunday.
Vipers stuck to their game plan and kept their composure despite the Hela opening the score through winger Raymond Tia eight minutes into the first half.
With unseasonal showers blanketing Lloyd Robson Oval, points, would be at a premium and Vipers Sebastian Pandia kicked a penalty before centres Kevin Frank and Eki Ene touched down in the 14th and 27th minutes to hold a 10-6 lead at the break.
Wigmen, desperate to get back into the game were guilty of some overzealous defence with Vipers forward Timothy Komane coping a high shot which resulted in a penalty in the 42nd minute.
Vipers hooker Noel Joel raised the flags for 12-6 buffer.
Wigmen, to their credit, did not throw in the towel.
Tari recruits in secondrower Samuel Sok and fullback Stargroth Amean stood out for the Hela side.
Sok injected plenty of enthusiasm in his first game while Amean stamped his mark with a 40m dash to score an unconverted try in the 44th minute to get within two of the Vipers at 12-10.
The rest of the half turned into trench warfare as both sides muscled up on defence with the wet conditions discouraging an expansive attack.
The Wigmen struggled to complete their sets handing cheap position.
Vipers led by Joel, Steven Johns, Bobby Mori, Pandia and the halves Roger Laka and skipper Peter Paulus were up to the task.
They handled the slippery conditions better which led to Paulus’ try in the 54th minute.
The Paulus try resulted from some slick handling by centre Frank and winger Joshua Poria which Joel duly converted to push the capital city franchise out to an 18-10 lead.
Wigmen’s structure started to fall apart while a running battle with referee Joe Peregua did not help the Hela cause.
The result: Wigmen’s hooker Whelma Jerry was sin-binned for back chatting putting the Tari team firmly on the backfoot.
Vipers played it cool but tempers flared when Wigmen’s captain Larsen Marabe knocked out reserve forward Zachary Simba with a shoulder charge.
In a curious decision by Peregua, Marabe was subsequently penalised for not using his arms to tackle the player while leading only with his shoulder.
The fast finishing Vipers put the game beyond reach when reserve rake Toua Kohu sold a dummy to several confused Wigmen defenders close to the line before scoring a try on the stroke of fulltime.