25 Aug 2014

Sport: PNG savour AFL International Cup triumph

10:45 am on 25 August 2014

Papua New Guinea coach David Lake says their triumph in the AFL International Cup final is all the more satisfying after coming up short three years ago.

The Mosquitoes pipped Ireland 45-42 in a nail-biting grand final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday, overcoming an early deficit and injuries to key players, to regain the title won in 2008.

PNG were forced to deal with early setbacks when the tournaments leading goal-scorer, Amua Pirika, and team captain John James were forced from the field early in the decider.

The Mosquitoes trailed at the end of the first and third quarters but a clutch goal from former Richmond rookie Gideon Simon near to the finish clinched victory with the Irish managing a consolation goal seconds from time to peg the deficit back to three points.

Head coach David Lake was coach of the team beaten in the final three years ago and says it's a great feeling to finally come up trumps.

"The last time in 2011, when we lost it to Ireland, we had a good group, there was a lot of experienced players but I'd only been involved with them for a short period of time whereas this time when I looked into it we were very young and these kids are through our development programmes, and this is five or six years work. The 17/18 year olds from last time are 20/21 and we asked the 20/21/22s to be - well now 25 - to be the veterans and stand up and lead the young fellas and to see them do that and I looked around the room and we'd been involved over that period with 90 to 95 percent of these boys so you really knew what you had, as people".