Sport: PNG Hunters season over after shock home loss

11:26 am on 5 September 2016

The Papua New Guinea Hunters' Queensland Cup rugby league season is over after a shock 18-12 defeat to the Sunshine Coast Falcons in Port Moresby.

The Hunters had won all 11 matches at the National Football Stadium during the regular season, including a 30-point thumping of the same opponent one week ago, but came up short in their first ever home finals match.

Both teams scored three tries, with Hunters winger Butler Morris bagging a hat-trick, but kicking proved the difference as the Falcons backrower Joe Stimson slotted two conversions and a penalty.

Hunters coach Michael Marum said the better team won on the day.

"(We) just didn't play well first half and then also in the second half we tried to play a bit more in the catch-up football but we were just not patient enough when we had the football - kept dropping it, giving it away. The Falcons were really disciplined with the football. They really worked hard, they won all the tackles and worked hard in defence and forced a lot of errors out of our attack," he said.

PNG Hunters and Kumuls coach Michael Marum.

PNG Hunters and Kumuls coach Michael Marum. Photo: PNG Rugby League

Despite emphasising during the week that finals football would require a step-up from the regular season, Michael Marum said his players didn't fully grasp the occasion.

"We just didn't turn up to play at all, all throughout the game here. We just let the Falcons play better football on the day. We let our fans down and our sponsors and everyone at home but it's something we have to learn from.

"I made it clear to the boys at the half-time break that we only have 40 minutes to win this...don't worry about next weekend because we don't have another game - this is it and if we win this you proceed to the next one but it just wasn't our day."

The Townsville Blackhawks thrashed Easts Tigers 46-4 in the other elimination game on Sunday and will face the Burleigh Bears in this weekend's semi finals, with Sunshine Coast up against the minor premiers, Redcliffe Dolphins.

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Photo: SP Hunters