The Papua New Guinea Hunters have won the Intrust Super Cup minor premiership for the first time after beating the Wynnum Manly Seagulls 28-22 in Port Moresby yesterday.
The league leaders now have an unassailable three point lead over second placed Redcliffe Dolphins, who had the bye.
The Hunters conceded the opening try at the National Football Stadium and trailed 10-6 at halftime but were too much for the Seagulls defenders in the second spell, scoring four more tries to seal victory and top spot for the regular season, despite Kumuls star David Mead impressing with a double for the visitors.
Hunters coach Michael Marum admitted finishing top of the ladder wasn't even in their thoughts at the start of the season.
"I didn't expect to win the minor premiership this year (but) week in week out the performances were there," he said.
"We set our goals to finish in the final six but to get the minor premiership just really proud at the way they've gone so far this year".
The Hunters will play Tweed Heads on Sunday in the final round of the regular season but have earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
With a home finals game locked in next month and three Rugby League World Cup pool matches to come in October/November Michael Marum, who doubles as the PNG Kumuls coach, said it was shaping up as a big few months.
"Yesterday we had the Prime Minister there, all the ministers - a lot of very important people at the game and the fans I think we had over 12,000 people there," he said.
"After the game I was speaking to David Mead and a few of the Wynnum boys and the atmosphere at the game was (incredible)...come World Cup time just imagine all this and get another extra 5,000 in it's exciting times ahead.
"Rugby league up here unites the nation - everyone stops and talks about the Hunters for just one day and they get back to normal the day after so we've gone a long way to come out as minor premiers".