Sport: PNG Hunters back to winning ways

12:50 pm on 26 June 2017

The Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league team came from behind to seal a gutsy 18-14 victory over the Northern Pride in Cairns to retain top spot on the Intrust Super Cup ladder.

The home side came out firing against a Hunters team upset on home soil the previous weekend, defying their lowly position on the table to score two tries in the first six minutes, via Connor Jones and Sheldon Powe-Hobbs, to open up a 12-0 lead.

From there momentum shifted as the match turned into an arm wrestle, with North Queensland Cowboys contracted duo Gideon Gala Mosby and Javid Bowen testing the Hunters defence.

PNG Hunters also beat the Northern Pride at home in April.

PNG Hunters also beat the Northern Pride at home in April. Photo: RNZI / Melvin Levongo

Opportunities remained few and far between for the visitors until Pride winger Marcus Jensen lost a high ball which bounced into the hands of Hunters hooker Wartovo Puara, who went through to score in the 24th minute, reducing the deficit to 12-4 at the half-time whistle.

Jordan Biondi-Odo extended the Northern Pride's lead to 10 points early in the second spell, when the Hunters conceded a penalty in front of their own goal-line.

Winger Bland Abavu responded on the hour mark with a try in the corner, converted by captain Ase Boas, to cut the home lead to four points.

With the Hunters dominating possession and territory, the Pride defence was breached again when centre Israel Eliab sliced past a few defenders to score the visitors

third try of the match, to level the scores at 14-14 with just eight minutes remaining.

Ase Boas added the extras to put the Hunters in front and added a penalty goal three minutes from time to cap off the comeback win.

The result marked the Hunters first win at Barlow Park and ensured they remained one point clear of the second placed Sunshine Coast Falcons, who beat Wynnum Manly 30-12.

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