Wigmen’s finals hope shattered

The 2022 premiers, Kroton Hela Wigmen have been eliminated in the 2023 Digicel ExxonMobil Cup finals race by a determined Bintangor Goroka Lahanis outfit 14-8.

Under a packed crowd at the Santos National Football Stadium on Sunday, the Lahanis broke hearts by winning at the final whistle.

Lahanis tagged underdogs started into the match kick-off with heads high to face the might of the Wigmen at all cost.

After some good exchanges by both teams in the opening minutes, it was Lahanis led by veteran captain, Charlie Buka at dummy half, who stayed in the grind and persisted throughout the contest that frustrated the opponents much to the delight of their parochial white and red army of supporters.

Buka showed his elusiveness out of dummy half to put his team in front 6-0.

Lahanis resilience in attack caught the Wigmen’s defence napping again and from another dummy half play this time it was fullback, Douzen Hoyato crossing beside the upright to push Lahanis further in front 10-0.

Wigmen were able to wrestle some moment back this time crossing in back-to-back fashion with tries to five-eight Tony Wemin and Andrew Solo to trail 8-10 until halftime.

From a 10-8 lead at the break, the Charlie Wabo coached side was resolute in their defence forcing Wigmen’s attacking prowess into multiple handling errors.

Lahanis' early scoring form continued in the second stanza when veteran winger Amos Kafare crossed in the left corner for a 14-8 score line that would eventually decide the outcome in the Lahanis favour.

It was a heartbreaker for the defending champions who appeared to have saved worse for last, at the back of a 6-game winning spree.

The Lahanis defensive resolve held out the Wigmen’s big forward pack into the second half to seal the gutsy win.

Lahanis now proceed to this weekend’s minor semi-final against Gurias.

Loop Sports