High from their round 16 win against the Falcons, the Hunters were looking to win this home game but unfortunately, the third-placed Dolphins proved to be too strong.
Just 3 minutes into the round 17 Intrust Super Cup clash and the Dolphins’ captain, Cameron Cullen, weaved through Hunters defenders at the 40-metre mark and scored the first try of the match.
7 minutes later and the Hunters returned fire when Wartovo Puara Jnr pulled in two Dolphins defenders, creating space for a short pass to Watson Boas, who quickly sent the ball flying to Nixon Putt then on to Junior Rau on the sidelines.
Unfortunately, Hunters captain Ase Boas was unable to convert the try.
14 minutes into the game and the Dolphins sent Tony Tumusa over the line for another try.
Another successful conversion by Bryce Donovan left the score at 12-4.
Not to be outdone, the Hunters plowed through thanks to the efforts of the Boas brothers and Puara Jnr.
With Dolphins defenders surrounding him, Puara passed the ball to a free Adex Wera, who sprinted over the line for the home team’s second try.
Wera had just returned after being suspended for two matches by the Queensland Rugby League judiciary, after being cited for ‘biting’ an opponent.
A successful conversion by Ase, who has stepped in for his brother due to a knee injury, left the score at 10-12.
With only a few minutes left on the clock, Nixon Putt made an impressive run through the Dolphins’ defence at the 50-metre mark. He then passed to Watson who crossed the line to leave the halftime score at 14-12, in favour of the Hunters.
A return from break witnessed controversial calls by the referee that cost the Hunters much-needed tries and ground.
20 minutes into second half and 2 tries from the Dolphins, with successful conversions, saw the score at 14-22.
A loose ball 66 minutes into the game saw an agile Brendan Gotuno pick up another try for the Hunters. A successful conversion left the score at 20-22.
In the dying minutes of the game, the Dolphins crossed over the Hunters try line, sealing their victory of the 10th- placed PNG team.