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Enga Mioks end Goroka Lahanis final hopes

HUNTERS backrower David Loko inspired the Enga Mioks to an 18-14 win over the Goroka Lahanis yesterday in the Digicel Cup preliminary final at the Lae Rugby League ground.
Loko, who was stood down for two Queensland Cup matches by Hunters coach Michael Marum last week, put on a man-of-the-match performance to earn his side a semi-final clash with the Agmark Gurias at Kalabond Oval in Kokopo on Sunday.
The 24-year-old was heavily involved in the Mioks’ surges in the first half that saw the Engans lead from the start.
The Enga provincial government-sponsored team was first on the board when winger Paul Wawa scored an unconverted try.
The lead was short lived as Lahanis Francis Takai ran in the equaliser with the scores at 4-4.
The game seesawed with both sides defending agressively that kept the supporters on the edge of their seats.
Mioks centre Ryan Kiso finally broke stalemate with a try shortly before halftime to take Engans to an 8-4 lead.
The second half started the same way the first ended with play concentrated in the middle third as both sets of forwards played a simple style of one out football.
The Mioks were the first to break the monotony when Loko picked up a loose ball and cut into Lahanis 20-metre line before offloading to hooker Leon Cletus who found centre Charles Martin for a game-breaking try.
Half back Willie Guambo for a 14-4 lead to the Engans.
Lahanis regrouped and their experienced stars started to put their mark on the game.
Led by twin towers Wesley Mohokule and Gonzella Urakusie, the Eastern Highlanders surged into Mioks territory for Takai to bag his second four-pointer of the day and more importantly give his side a sniff at 14-8.
Man-of-the-match Loko, who was stood down by Hunters management for missing two training sessions, proved a blessing for the Engans.
The Kagua man pulled off the match-winning play with a chip and regather effort to set up Martin for his second try of the afternoon and denting the Lahanis confidence.
Guambo missed the corner conversion to leave the scores at 18-8.
A desperate Lahanis managed to reply with an unconverted try to Felix Tatsim to cut the margin to four at 14-18, however the time was not on their side as Mioks held on to win.
Mioks 18 (P.Wawa, R.Kiso, C.Martin 2 tries; W.Guambo 1 con) Lahanis 14 (F.Takai 2, F.Tatsim tries; R. Soga 1 con) HT: 8-4 (Mioks) at Lae Rugby League ground. The National
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