The SP PNG Hunters will welcome a week off to rest their injured leaders after falling short to Burleigh Bears in a classic Intrust Super Cup clash at Pizzey Park today.
The Bears lasted for a 25-18 win before a huge Anzac Day crowd, holding on to the Kokoda Cup for the third consecutive year.
The Bears led throughout the match but the Hunters were always a chance to fight back, ignited by fullback Terry Wapi who charged down a kick and scored in the 69th minute.
Scott Davis / QRL
The SP PNG Hunters will discuss the importance of the Kokoda Cup and their desire to regain the trophy when they take on Intrust Super Cup heavyweights Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park on Sunday.
The Hunters haven’t held the Kokoda Cup since 2017 when they thrashed the Bears in the annual Anzac Day showdown between the teams.
Scott Davis / QRL Photos
The SP PNG Hunters are now on the third spot on the Intrust Super Cup (ISC) ladder after they sounded a warning across the Intrust Super Cup when they dismantled Sunshine Coast Falcons 32-12 in a stirring Rivalry Round win at Bycroft Oval on the weekend.
The Hunters repelled the Falcons with their trademark defensive intensity before Norman Brown and Benji Kot grabbed two tries each to help PNG to its third win from four matches.
The Hunters’ Intrust Super Cup rivals weren’t sure what to make of their chances this year as the squad relocated from PNG to their new home at Runaway Bay after serving a 31-day COVID quarantine period that prevented them from playing any pre-season matches.
But wins over Ipswich Jets and Mackay Cutters put the Hunters’ rivals on notice before the alarm sounded with today’s clinical win over a team always rated as competition heavyweights.
There was no better display of the Hunters’ skills than a bone-rattling tackle by skipper Ila Alu and Sylvester Namo that jolted the ball from Falcons winger Nat McGavin in the 21st minute. From the attacking set, Brown crossed for his first try to round out a passage of play that would test any Intrust Super Cup team.
“We won that game today on the back of our defence,” Hunters coach Matt Church said.
SP PNG Hunters have been hit with the news that in-form winger Brendon Gutuno will be sidelined for eight weeks with a double arm fracture as they prepare for Saturday’s clash with Sunshine Coast Falcons.
Gutuno, who has been a regular in the Hunters side since 2018, suffered the injury in the third minute of last Saturday’s 26-14 win against the Cutters in Mackay. The 25-year-old had surgery on Monday to repair fractures in different bones in his forearm.
His misfortune has created the opportunity for Norman Brown to make his Intrust Super Cup debut on the wing when the Hunters meet the sixth-placed Falcons at Runaway Bay’s Bycroft Oval.
Brown, 23, played fullback for Hela Wigmen in their Digicel Cup grand final victory against Lae Tigers last October. It was his second grand final victory, proving his experience in pressure matches as he prepares for his Hunters debut.
THE SP Hunters have been forced to make one change to their winning outfit for their Queensland Intrust Super Cup clash with the Cutters in Mackay on Saturday night (6pm kick-off).
Second-rower and vice-captain Keven Appo will miss the game after he was suspended for two matches for a shoulder charge during the Hunters’ 44-22 win over the Ipswich Jets in round 2 before the Easter weekend.
The Hunters defended Appo against a shoulder charge notice and felt they presented a good case of claiming it was a tackle gone wrong with no intent to make contact with the shoulder.
PNG Hunters News & Results
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2021 Results, Draw and Ladder
PNG Hunters 18 Wynnum Manly Seagulls 20
Hunters 44 IIpswich jets 22
PNG Hunters 26 Mackay Cutters 14
PNG Hunters 32 vs Gold Coast Falcons 12
PNG Hunters 18 vs Burleigh Bears 25
Brisbane Tigers 40 PNG Hunters 12
PNG Hunters v Wynnum Manly Seagulls
PNG Hunters V Ipswich Jets
PNG Hunters V Mackay Cutters
PNG Hunters vs Gold Coast Falcons
Burleigh Bears v PNG Hunters
PNG Hunters v Brisbane Tigers
South Logan Magpies v PNG Hunters
Redcliffe Dolphins v PNG Hunters
PNG Hunters v Townsville Blackhawks
PNG Hunters v Norths Devils
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