Hunters go down 20-18 in ANZAC clash

The SP PNG Hunters went down 20-18 to the Burleigh Bears in yesterday afternoon's ANZAC day clash for the Kokoda Cup at Pizzey Park, Australia.

The Hunters found themselves in trouble right from the kick off when a miscommunication in their own try line forced a line dropout.

The Hunters struggled to get out of their own half and were forced to mostly defend in the opening minutes. It wasn't long before the Bears cracked open the defence to find the try line through Kurtis Rowe in the 10th minute. Jamal Fogarty added the extras to put the score out to 6-0. Fogarty increased the score to 8-0 after a dangerous tackle by Adam Korave in the Hunters half in the 17th minute.

Things went from bad to worse for the Hunters when the Bears scored from the kick off through hooker Pat Politoni. Fogarty made it 3 from 3 to leave the score at 14-0. The Hunters regrouped and after 29 minutes, had their first real chance to score.

But this was blown when Justin Olam dropped the ball out wide from an overlap with no one in front of him. The score remained at 14-0 going into the break. The Hunters hit as early as the 43rd minute in the second half when Olam made amends for his blunder with a good run to draw in three defenders and flick the ball out to a charging Oti Bland Tony to score on the wing.

This was backed up by the conversion right from the side line from Ase Boas to put the Hunters back in the game at 14-6. But the Bears extended their lead when quick hands put Connor Broadhurst over to score.

Fogarty faced his most difficult kick of the game but made things look easy, striking the ball through the posts to put the lead beyond two converted tries. The 60th minute mark is where the Hunters launched their fight back with two quick tries Timothy Lomai and then to Olam to set up a nail-biting finish at Pizzey Park.

But the Bears had it in them to defend the two-point lead to the end to win back the Kokoda Cup and give the Hunters their second loss for this season. 

Troy Taule