24th September 2017
The PNG Hunters have overcome the weight of eight million rabid rugby league fans back home to score a stunning last-minute, 12-10 grand final win over the Sunshine Coast Falcons and change the Intrust Super Cup forever.
After seven minutes the Hunters trailed 10-0 and looked to be completely overawed by the occasion of playing on Suncorp Stadium for the very first time, but the longer the game went the more the momentum grew yet boundless errors and missed opportunities seemed to allow a brave Falcons team to hold on.
The Hunters will now travel to Sydney to play either Wyong or Penrith in the Intrust Super Championship and take centre stage in front of 80,000 fans on NRL Grand Final day next Sunday.
After bombing a chance to score eight minutes earlier, it was Willie Minoga who followed through on an Ase Boas grubber kick in the 79th minute to level the scores at 10-all, Boas sealing the most famous day in PNG rugby league history with a conversion from just to the right of the posts.
Trailing 10-0 at the break after an awful start to the decider, a simple drop of the kick-off to the second half by Scott Drinkwater gave the Hunters a gift-wrapped chance to swing the momentum to the raptures of the parochial PNG contingent.
It was messy, and referee Jarrod Cole sent it for review as a ‘no try’ but video referee Clayton Sharpe determined that the grubber by Ase Boas rifled into the feet of the Falcons players was not knocked on by the chasing Hunters players and Bland Abavu released Watson Boas to score their first try of the grand final.
The entire second half felt as though it was spent with the Hunters pounding away at the Falcons defence only to make error after error in attack and drain all the energy out of an expectant crowd waiting for the go-ahead play.
A Watson Boas 40/20 in the 54th minute failed to lead to points, Falcons captain Dane Hogan was heavily concussed shortly afterwards and inexplicably stayed on the field for four minutes before eventually being dragged by the trainers and Watson Boas twice made basic handling errors inside the Falcons’ red zone.
Ten minutes from full-time Minoga looked like crashing through a gaping hole courtesy of a Wartovo Puara pass but let the ball slip through his fingers with the line wide open as the Falcons again turned them away.
Watson Boas was stretched from the field after copping a heavy head knock defending his try-line and as expectation grew the clock ticked away on the Hunters’ incredible dream that is now a reality.
After a frantic start it appeared that the composure and professionalism of the Falcons would be far too good for the passion of the PNG team who did well to fight their way back into the contest only to cruel the try-scoring opportunities they had with errors attacking the Falcons’ line.
Their best chance of the first half went astray when a Moses Meninga offload hit the ground and David Loko and Brandy Peter both made errors on the first tackle inside the Falcons’ 10-metre line as they dominated territory without having anything to show for it.
The Falcons got off to the perfect start when Jahrome Hughes sent winger Matthew Soper-Lawler on a weaving run to the tryline with a one-handed flick pass inside the first two minutes and the Storm connection struck again five minutes later when Ryley Jacks sent Joe Stimson slicing through on the left.
The game threatened to escape the Hunters’ reach before many of the fans flooding into Suncorp Stadium could take their seats but every time they put pressure on the Falcons they committed the cardinal sins of giving away unnecessary penalties or making basic errors.
PNG Hunters 12 (Watson Boas, Willie Minoga tries; Ase Boas 2 goals) def. Sunshine Coast Falcons 10 (Matthew Soper-Lawler, Joe Stimson tries; Stimson 1 goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Crowd: 11,260 (record for Cup Grand Final).
Tag Archives: Rugby League
24th September 2017
MEDIA RELEASE – AIR NIUGINI
This Sunday May 28th, 2017 will see SP PNG Hunters take on Townsville Blackhawks in Round 12 of the Queensland Intrust Super Cup competition at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.
And to commemorate the recently launched direct flights between Port Moresby and Townsville, Air Niugini has put up the perpetual Air Niugini Cup to be played for between the SP Hunters and Townsville Blackhawks.
“The inaugural Air Niugini Cup will be played for by the two teams in Port Moresby this weekend,” Air Niugini CEO Simon Foo said.
“The Cup will be played for on an annual basis and will encourage our fellow country folk living in and around Townsville, supporters of the Blackhawks as well the business and corporate community. Not only will the focus be for this annual tournament, but the opportunity will be provided to travel on our direct flight on Friday, visit friends and families or do business on Saturday, watch the game on Sunday and return direct on Monday ,” he said.
Foo said this year’s Air Niugini Cup will pay tribute to the 75th Anniversary of the battle of Kokoda.
“Next year’s game and ensuing games will pay tribute to notable observances and causes so the Air Niugini Cup played for between these two teams will be special.”
PNGRFL CEO Reatau Rau was grateful for Air Niugini’s support to the SP Hunters as well as rugby league throughout the country.
“The curtain raiser on Sunday will see Digicel Cup teams Hela Wigmen and Rabaul Agmark Gurias go head to head and we thank Air Niugini for the special discount fares for supporters of these two teams to travel to Port Moresby. This is in addition to the support given for the Port Moresby – Townsville return fares and we are really appreciative and grateful for the support Air Niugini is giving,” Rau said.
He also expressed gratitude to the Chairman and CEO of the QRL for giving their blessing of the Air Niugini Cup.
The SP Hunters vs Townsville Blackhawks game is expected to be kicked off by Air Niugini Board chairman Sir Fredrick Reiher or CEO Simon Foo at 3pm on Sunday at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.
The gates will be opened at 12pm for the curtain racer to start at 12:45pm. Tickets are going for K20 (behind goal posts), K25 (Northern/Southern Stand), K30(Western / Eastern stand) and K50 for the grand stand. They can be purchased at Brian Bell Plaza, Brian Bell Home Centre, Vision City, Naked Fish, Big Rooster at Koki and Erima, Stop and Shop Waigani and Gerehu. Games day tickets can be purchased at the stadium.