Gurias home in nail biter

East New Britain Agmark Gurias recorded a thrilling 16-10 victory over traditional arch-rivals Moni Plus NCDC Vipers on Sunday to push them clear in front in the Pool B race.

Going into Sundays block buster both teams were sharing top spot in their pool with 10 points apiece with Vipers edging Gurias out on percentage.

Foundation clubs Rabaul Gurias and Port Moresby Vipers took to the Santos National Football stadium on Sunday to replicate and show off their wares why they are still the benchmark teams of the national rugby league.

The physicality and pace of top of the Pool B classic was next level that kept the vocal crowd cheering their teams on throughout the intriguing match-up.

After their round two 16-12 loss to Gurias in Kokopo Vipers, went into the match with  a plan to reverse the curse on the boys from East New Britain fielding possibly their strongest lineup yet for this season.

Their forward pack led by skipper Fedro Gene, Stanton Albert and Abel Rami and Melix Winis  at dummy started peppering Gurias line early to the set the platform for their spine in Nicky Hasu and Joel Gena, while out the back Brandon Gotuno and Vicky Kevau Jnr were threatening with every carry.

Gurias to their credit held firmly to repel the early Vipers surge thanks to their big men, Jordan Pat, Steven Bruno, Alex Max and Nickson Waki who stood up to the challenge.

Interestingly Gurias had a number of former Vipers in their line up. William Tirang at Centre, Karis Peter in 7 and Weiyah Koi from the bench who also became targets.

From a Gurias counter attack deep inside Vipers territory paid off thanks  a barnstorming run by Gurias bulky centre three-quarter Levai Andrew scooting away untouched to score on the right hand corner for a 4-0 lead. 

In the 19th minute, Gurias powerful back rower Alex Max came up with one of his trademark runs using his deadly foot work and speed to fool the Vipers defense streaking  away to put the  Gurias further in front 10-0 living the Viper shell-shocked until half time.

As expected Vipers coming out of the sheds with a change in mindset and attitude ,showing great resilience in their defensive efforts, putting on some good set plays inside Gurias half.

They were able to convert possession into points this time a beautiful lollypop pass from Junior Keavu to his winger Jarran Pitten to score Vipers first points to trail 6-10.

Viper’s defense was caught napping again. From a freakish play by Gurias wiz kid No.9 Nathan Tente who got a miracle one hand off load from his prop forward Jordan Pat, to stun the defense with a short burst to the line to put Gurias ahead 16-6 on the 55th minute.

Vipers never say die attitude got them back into the contest with a late try to Gilmor Paul to trail 10-16 and a grand stand finish looming.   

However Gurias scrambled well to hold out Vipers last gasp attempt to pull the game out of the fire with Gurias coming out winners 16-10 at fulltime.

Loop Sports