The SP PNG Hunters sounded a warning across the Intrust Super Cup when they dismantled Sunshine Coast Falcons 32-12 in a stirring Rivalry Round win at Bycroft Oval on Saturday.
The Hunters repelled the Falcons with their trademark defensive intensity before Norman Brown and Benji Kot grabbed two tries each to help PNG to its third win from four matches.
The wins over Ipswich Jets and Mackay Cutters put the Hunters’ rivals on notice before Saturday’s clinical win over a team always rated as competition heavyweights.
There was no better display of the Hunters’ skills than a bone-rattling tackle by skipper Ila Alu and Sylvester Namo that jolted the ball from Falcons winger Nat McGavin in the 21st minute. From the attacking set, Brown crossed for his first try to round out a passage of play that would test any Intrust Super Cup team.
“We won that game today (Saturday) on the back of our defense,” Hunters Coach Matt Church said.
“We defended a lot in the first half and then we took advantage of some attacking opportunities. We knew that this game was a step up for us today and a real test of where we’re at as a team.
“I’m really proud of this squad. We’ve had a few obstacles thrown our way but we keep on meeting them.”
Hooker Wartovo Puara Jnr sustained an ankle injury however continued on playing, helped Benjamin Kot to his first try of the game. Kot’s try put Hunters’ in the lead at halftime.
Ball handling errors and mis-tackles were Hunters’ biggest rival.
Falcons’ bounced back into lead after hooker Tyson Smoothy’s try. Ten minutes later, Hunters’ responded with a try through Prop Samuel Yegip.
Hunters’ finished off in the dying minute of the game with another try to snatch the win.
SP PNG HUNTERS 32 (Norman Brown 2, Benji Kot 2, Terry Wapi, Samuel Yegip tries, Charlie Simon 4 goals) bt SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 12 (Nat McGavin, Tyson Smoothy tries, Todd Murphy 2 goals) at Bycroft Oval, Runaway Bay.