The Intrust Super round 13 fixture at the National Football Stadium was played on a wet track and as expected, each side committed a combined 20 handling errors over the 80 minutes of play but the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored side gritted their way to a 16-point win and moved up to fourth on the competition standings.
Coach Michael Marum was reserved in his praise for the pair, highlighting their contributions and commending his charges for a strong second half.
“I think they both did well in this match,” Marum said. “That was Kimisive’s first time starting and he handled it well.
“It was good to see him follow the game plan, using his size and doing those good runs.
“Abavu was pretty strong at the back; he read the kicks well and got into position to return the ball and he didn’t make any mistakes in the conditions so I was happy with that.”
Abavu set up a try for centre Thompson Teteh in the second-half that highlighted the 195cm-tall back’s ability to free up his arms and slips passes in traffic.
Kimisive for his part channelled NZ Warriors powerhouse winger Manu Vatuvai with his charges into the Pride line.
The 20-year-old capped off a great starting debut with a try early in the second-half.
Cairns-based Pride were first to score, with prop Sheldon Powe-Hobbs crashing over in the eighth minute after taking an inside ball five metres out of the Hunters line.
Five-eighth Ase Boas turned a pass inside for co-captain and lock Adam Korave to go over under the posts in the 14th minute to draw level at 6-6.
Hunters props Esau Siune and Henry Wan had big games, as did back-rower Brandy Peter while Enock Maki and Benjamin Hetra made metres of tackles coming off the bench.
With an even first 40 on the board, the Hunters faithful, who had braved showers earlier in the day, were rewarded with an inspired second-half that saw Kimisive (47th min), Teteh (64th min) and Wartovo Puara (77th min) cross to break the club’s two-game losing streak and put the team in good stead with home matches against the Souths Logan Magpies (round 14) and Wynnum Manly Seagulls (round 15) following.
Match result: PNG Hunters 22 (Adam Korave, Philemon Kimisive, Thompson Teteh, Wartovo Puara tries; Noel Zeming 3 con) Northern Pride 6 (Sheldon Powe-Hobbs try; Khan Awang con)
Results: Q-Cup round 13 – Sat, June 4: WM Seagulls 10 Falcons 16, SP Hunters 22 Pride 6; Sun, June 5: Blackhawks 32 Devils 12, Dolphins 40 Capras 4, Bears 20 Tigers 12, SL Magpies 18 Cutters 18, TH Seagulls 22 Jets 12.