Papua New Guinea

Blues dominate, Maroons win

Blues dominate, Maroons win

22/06/2017, Papua New Guinea, Multi Sports, Papua New Guinea Facts (Publication), Article # 22906957
​SYDNEY: The four playmaking stars who have punctuated a decade of dominance for Queensland reunited at ANZ Stadium to somehow conjure a remarkable, come-from-behind 18-16 win to square the Origin series.
The ageing Maroons and their dynasty looked shot to bits when the Blues raced out to a 16-6 lead with two quick tries midway through the first half but their new-look forward pack found a way to match it with their power-packed opponents right throughout a tense second 40 in which the Blues were held scoreless.
Queensland found one try to make things tense and then, right near the death, a second try with Johnathan Thurston’s ice-cold sideline conversion stealing the lead against the odds with three minutes to play.
The Blues monstered their opponents in the 20 minutes before halftime but looked frantic and nervous in their scoreless second 40 as they could feel the breath on their necks of their long-time tormenters coming for them.
The ageless Billy Slater was in everything in his first Origin for two years, defusing everything at the back, scheming in attack, lurking around the ruck, supporting every play.
Thurston proved he had what the Maroons were missing in Game I; despite looking hampered by a shoulder injury for much of the game he was the perfect foil for Cooper Cronk who was himself far improved from Game I.
The Blues now face the unenviable task of heading up to Suncorp for a Game III decider in hostile territory against a Queensland side with their tails up and ready to send Johnathan Thurston into representative retirement with one last win.
The Blues failed to capitalise on their early dominance and their game management in the second half was found wanting with too many rushed or frantic plays.
Of everyone it was their most experienced player in Jarryd Hayne who came up with the most questionable options in that period but the halves too, despite offering plenty in attack – especially in the first half – who needed to command the ball and get the team to the right parts of the field to shut the game down.
The start of the contest was more stop-start than the previous, frantic Game One opener with debutant Valentine Holmes knocking on from his very first touch in Origin and James Maloney gifting two silly penalties in the opening 10 minutes to put the Blues under pressure.
The second of those proved expensive with a left-side shift allowing Darius Boyd in the centre position to pop the perfect pass out to Holmes, who capitalised on opposite man Blake Ferguson coming in to tiptoe down the touchline.
The bunker couldn’t find conclusive evidence of Holmes’s foot scraping the chalk and the try was awarded.
Right after both coaches interchanged their respective pairs of starting front rowers, Maloney shot past Tim Glasby who was fresh on the field and from open space fired a pass out to Brett Morris to put the Blues up 10-6.
The Maroons launched a final assault on the Blues’ line in the shadows of half time and turned down a free two points from a penalty with 30 second to go in a desperate search for a vital try.
They could have, and possibly should have scored on two separate occasions in those 30 seconds but a pair of momentous try-savers – the first from Trbojevic on Cronk next to the posts, the second from Dugan on Morgan out wide – preserved the 10-point lead heading into the break.
The game-breaking play came in the 77th minute; NSW couldn’t hang on to Cronk’s cross-field bomb and handed the Maroons a scrum from 10 metres out. A shift left was unsuccessful but a shift right saw Slater’s pace and his deft pass onto Morgan (at centre for Chambers) who flicked the perfect offload back in for Gagai to level the scores.
Thurston’s sideline conversion was never doing anything other than curling back between the sticks to claim a remarkable lead and send his teammates into raptures.
The job wasn’t finished as NSW claimed the ball from a short restart but the Queensland defence held firm to send the series to a decider. – Photo: NRL
Struggling Seagulls stun PNG Hunters

Struggling Seagulls stun PNG Hunters

19/06/2017, Papua New Guinea, Multi Sports, Papua New Guinea Facts (Publication), Article # 22867376
PictureThe PNG Hunters were upset at home by the bottom-placed Tweed Heads Seagulls. Photo: RNZI / Melvin Levongo
The Papua New Guinea Hunters seven-match winning streak came to a sudden end as they slumped to a shock 14-10 defeat at home against the bottom-placed Tweed Heads Seagulls on Saturday.

The Hunters were missing skipper Ase Boas, who had been ruled out of the match through injury on Friday, with hooker Wartovo Puara slotting into the first receiver role.

Halfback Michael Burgess scored the first try for the visitors at the National Football Stadium, after a knock-on by Hunters prop Essau Siune, gifting the Seagulls a 6-0 lead inside the first four minutes.

Five eighth Lindon McGrady added the extras and extended the lead to 8-0, after as many minutes, with a penalty goal four minutes later.

Hunters stand in skipper Wellington Albert stood up for the home side, making big tackles and damaging runs with ball in hand, however handling errors and poor discipline limited the Hunters attacking opportunities.

The Seagulls struck a major blow two minutes before halftime when interchange forward Damien Sirinon crashed over four their second four-pointer, with McGrady converting to make it 14-0 at the break.

Centre Adex Wera hit back for the Hunters four minutes into the second spell, with Israel Eliab landing the conversion in Ase Boas' absence.

Willie Minoga almost had a second for the home side at the 50 minute mark, charging over a would-be-tackler and sprinting 80m before Lindon McGrady produced a try saving tackle to take Minoga over the sideline.

Minoga finally got his reward with ten minutes remaining, after a good backline play, dotting down after taking the final pass from fullback Stagroth Amean.

Irael Eliab missed the conversion and the home side eventually ran out of time, suffering just their second home defeat of the season.

However PNG remain atop the Intrust Super Cup ladder after second-placed Sunshine Coast Falcons were beaten 36-14 by Townsville.  RNZI
PNG Hunters stay atop Queensland Cup

PNG Hunters stay atop Queensland Cup

30/05/2017, Papua New Guinea, Multi Sports, Papua New Guinea Facts (Publication), Article # 22698180
​The Papua New Guinea Hunters extended their winning streak in rugby league's Intrust Super Cup to five matches after thrashing the Townsville Blackhawks 42-4 in Port Moresby yesterday.

Fullback Stargroth Amean bagged a hat-trick as the home side ran in seven tries at the National Football Stadium, to inflict the heaviest defeat in Townsville's history.

David Loko, Willie Minoga, Silas Gahuna and Watson Boas also touched down while captain Ase Boas kicked 14 points to go top of the competition scoring charts.Meanwhile the Hunters' nearest challengers, Redcliffe Dolphins, suffered a shock 21-4 defeat at the Tweed Heads Seagulls.

The league leaders are away to the Norths Devils this weekend.  RNZI​

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