PNG Hunters stun Wynnum Manly Seagulls

A DEPLETED Papua New Guinea Hunters showed character to fight their way to a 32-22 win against Wynnum Manly Seagulls in their Round 11 Queensland Cup clash at Kalabond Stadium, Kokopo on Saturday.
Led by fill-in prop Esau Siune, the home side overcame a 12-point halftime deficit and played the match with one man less on the bench.
The win saw the SP Brewery-sponsored Hunters move to third on the ladder, with Wynnum-Manly falling a notch to fourth.
Hunters trailed the Seagulls 22-10 and looked to be struggling but that all changed in the 50th minute when hooker Wartovo Puara Junior combined with halfback Roger Laka to ignite the home side’s attack.
Siune, who had not played since the fifth round against Easts Tigers, staked his claim for a starting spot with a powerful performance that saw him take on more responsibility after front-row partner Joe Bruno left the field concussed in the 24th minute. Siune’s 26 hit-ups were the most by a forward in the match and the Kumul narrowly missed out on the player of the match award.
Coach Michael Marum acknowledged Siune for his effort.
“Esau (Siune) certainly stood out for us. Considering we were a man down after Joe (Bruno) had to come off midway through the first half. I spoke to him about his performance so he knows he’s been appreciated,” Marum said. The match saw 20-year-old prop Stanton Albert make his debut after five-eighth Israel Eliab was ruled out on Saturday morning. Albert was promoted to the bench while Noel Zemming donned the No.6 jersey. Marum, missing six of his regular starters in Timothy Lomai (suspension), David Loko, Gonzela Urakusie (discipline), Dion Aiye, Brandy Peter and Willie Minoga (injury) had to contend with losing his captain on match day as well but said he was pleased the players coming in had stood up.
“We trailed 16-6 at one stage after a tight first 20 minutes but we were locked at six-all ... Wynnum put some tries on us and got a good lead at half time. We weren’t really worried at that stage because we were expecting that kind off scoreline.”
Tries by Thompson Teteh, George Benson, Garry Lo, Roger Laka, Lawrence Tu’u, and Noel Zeming trumped Seagulls’ tries by Daniel Ogden, Matt Grieve, Ben Cronin and Mitchell Frei.
Zeming converted four out of six, while Wynnum’s Matt Seamark kicked three of four goals.
The Hunters returned yesterday to Port Moresby and were given the day off before returning today to prepare for Sunday’s Round 12 fixture against the Norths Devils in Brisbane. “The guys have been given the day off to celebrate Mother’s Day, spend time with their families. Israel (Eliab) is still in Kokopo but he will join us during the week. Timothy (Lomai) is back this weekend from suspension while David (Loko) and Gonzella (Urakusie) are still out for disciplinary reasons. Doin Aiye and Willie Minoga are recovering from injuries and are walking around but we didn’t want to rush them. We’ll see how they go during the week,” Marum said.
 
The National
 
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