The Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league team are smiling again after beating the Central Queensland Capras to secure their first win of the season.
The Hunters opened the scoring at McIndoe Park on Saturday with an eighth minute try to winger Brendon Gutono, while Junior Rop and Oti Bland Tony also found the line as the Hunters led 16-6 at half-time.
Capras fullback Kainoa Gudgeon scored with 17 minutes remaining to close to within six points before the PNG side responded with two tries in four minutes to seal a morale-boosting victory, after opening the season with five straight losses.
"It's good to get the two points in Rockhampton against Capras," coach Michael Marum said.
"We fought really hard for the points. It was a scrappy game but we're happy with the points."
Despite ending a three-game road trip on a winning note, Hunters coach Michael Marum said there was still a lot for the team to work on.
"In the second half when we had that lead in the first 20 minutes we didn't control the football again so we dropped some more balls there and didn't complete our sets," he said.
"Then we allowed them to come back at us when we kept dropping the football but luckily they didn't score any points.
"They scored one try in that second half - we thought it was going to be a close one - but we got away with the game at the end there with another two tries at the back-end to Charlie Simon and Moses Meninga."
The Hunters first win since beating the Capras in the penultimate round of last season's regular season lifts the 2017 Premiers off the bottom of the Intrust Super Cup ladder into 12th place, one behind Ipswich who they host in Port Moresby this weekend.
"It's going to help us in camp, the confidence of the players going into the games coming up so I know this weekend we have a tough one against Ipswich," Marum said.
"They lost today against (Norths) Devils so they'll be tough at home - we haven't won a game here (in Port Moresby) in 2019 so we want to make sure we prepare well and make sure we play well against them.
"But with that victory we put some smiles on the players. They're excited and they feel a bit more relieved so when we came back the other boys who didn't travel were all standing outside waiting for us to come in and they were just shaking everyone's hand. It's good to see that sort of feeling in camp again now - it's been missing for a while."