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PNG Hunters pay for mistakes

East Tigers come out winners over PNG Hunters 22 - 16
THE Papua New Guinea Hunters lost their second home game, falling to the East Tigers 22-16 on Saturday.
The Round 17 loss was highlighted by an array of ball-handling errors and a lack of defensive coordination on the edges by the home side.
The Hunters shot from the blocks with two tries for a 12-0 lead but from the 21st minute on, Michael Marum’s men seemed to switch off as the Tigers came back into the game with two tries to trail 12-10 at halftime.
The Hunters had their injury worries heading into the game with winger Garry Lo missing and bench utility Lawrence Tu’u pulling out minutes before the side took the field.
Dummy half lynch-pin Wartovo Puara Jr, played wounded, a leg injury suffered in last week’s 20-4 loss to the Mackay Cutters hampering the creative hooker’s impact on the game.
The match started off on a high note, with second-rower David Loko, pictured, picking up a loose ball to race away to score beside the posts.
Noel Zemming added the extras for the Hunters to lead 6-0, in the third minute.
The Tigers were no easy beats as they kept the pressure on with bench forward Foisa Peni adding starch to the Tigers defence. East’s fullback Cameron Munster was a continuous threat but the Hunters “freight train” Willie Minoga barged his way over the line for the Hunters to go 12-0 up.
Tigers speed merchants Jarrod McInnally and Doug Chang scored tries and Liam Tyson potted a goal to keep their side in the contest.
The Hunters were starved of possession and territory in the second half with the Tigers utility Geoff Holcombe and five-eighth Jacob Fauid keeping the Hunters pinned in their own half for the most of the match.
A late reshuffle saw reserve forward Dion Aiye push halfback Roger Laka to five-eighth while captain and No.6 Israel Elaib found himself in the centres.
The change saw some purpose injected back into the home side but a combination of hard Tigers tackling and some schoolboy errors on attack and defence blunted the expected fight-back.
Tries to McInally and Shane Neumann had the Tigers 22-12 ahead.
Aiye’s role as the first receiver worked well with strong charges giving his runners time and space.
Minoga missed an opportunity to score his second try after spilling the ball a few metres from the try-line. But winger Edward Goma, who had earlier bombed three try-scoring chances, finally made amends to bring the scores 16-22 after three separate attempts at the line.
In more bad news for the Hunters, backrower Adam Korave was placed on report for a lifting tackle on Dane Hogan that left the North Queensland Cowboys squad member concussed. Korave could miss up to two matches for the offence.
The Hunters have another tough assignment against competition leaders the Northern Pride at Barlow Park in Cairns.
PNG Hunters 16 (D Loko, W Minoga E Goma tries; N Zemming 2 con) East Tigers 22 (J McInally 2, D Chang, S Neumann tries; L Tyson 3 con) at Kalabond Oval. HT: 12-10 (Hunters). The National
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