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Ase Boas stars as SP PNG Hunters hurt Northern Pride

HALFBACK Ase Boas stamped his claims on the position with a man-of-the-match performance as the SP PNG Hunters broke a hoodoo of sorts against Northern Pride in Kokopo on Sunday.
The 36-16 win promotes the Hunters from seventh spot to fifth after nine rounds on the Intrust Super Cup premiership table. 
The victory was sweet for the Hunters who had yet to beat the Pride during the regular season since the PNG side made the debut in the Intrust Super Cup last year. The Hunters’ other victory before Sunday was a pre-season trial in 2014, which while appreciated meant nothing to their premiership points. 
The Pride’s fall from grace leaves Easts Tigers as the only team yet to lose at the Kalabond Oval and also the only side in the competition the Hunters have yet to beat in their short existence.
The SP Hunters’ best result against Easts, whom they host in Round 21 on August 2, is a 20-all draw last year away.
Boas who has been used off the bench since he signed up with the Hunters this year relished the opportunity to get a start in his preferred position at halfback.
The number 7 jumper has been rotated between Roger Laka and Atte Bina with Boas who has been used as a utility already getting a start but in the centres position some weeks back where he also put on a man-of-the-match display- also at Kalabond Oval.
Laka came off the interchange bench and also made a useful contribution to the win. 
On Sunday, Boas repaid coach Michael Marum for calling on his protégé from their Agmark Gurias’ days with a classy display not just in directing traffic but with some decisive plays, one of which was a try.
Boas set the wheels rolling in the preferred direction with a 40-20 kick which eventually led to a Wartovo Puara try. 
Boas was in the thick of things throughout the match carrying out the halfback’s responsibilities with gusto and even collecting a try for himself, the first for the Hunters in the second half.
But the match was not exactly a one-man show – it was more a great team effort - with the Hunters displaying one of their best displays at Kalabond. 
However, against a well-drilled side such as the reigning premiers Pride wasn’t easy with little separating both sides in the opening half with the score indicative of that, when locked at 10-all at half-time.
The match continued in a similar fashion at least for the opening part of the second half with Boas again featuring prominently by scoring his try at the 48th minute.
The try came off a ball from centre Thompson who tried to score but when the Pride defence closed up on him, he threw it back and Boas latched onto it to cross.
Then Willie Minoga scored for Hunters to break further clear 22-10 after Zeming converted before Wera crossed for his own contribution.
Wera had been denied in an earlier attempt a minute ago due to some desperate Pride defence but after the ball was shifted to the middle – it was worked back to the right edge for the winger to cross for the first of his double.
His second was actually the final nail in the coffin for the visitors as Wera completed a set play much to the satisfaction of coach Marum who was seen prior to the try, barking instructions from the bench to work the move.
Marum obviously happy with the victory was equally glad that it came off his men staying in stride with their game plan they had set for themselves.
While there were some wrong options taken or errors which cost them more points, it was generally one of the Hunters most polished performances to date. 
The Hunters needed to be patient in attack, working through their sets, and plugging away at the Pride defence then punching through holes created when the opposition faltered through the continuous pressure.
Hunters’ defence saw a marked improvement except for the right edge which Pride exploited to post their two first half tries through winger Luke George as he combined with centre Javid Bowen. 
SP PNG Hunters 36: Wera 2 tries, Boas, Zeming, Minoga, Ottio; Zeming 3, Abavu goals bt Northern Pride 16: George 2, Kaufusi tries; Bowen 2 goals. PNG Hunters Media 
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