THE Lae Tigers handed the Agmark Gurias their second loss in a row at the Lae Rugby League Ground yesterday.
The Tigers’ 14-6 triumph saw the Morobe franchise stay on top of the Pool 2 ladder on eight points.
The fourth round Digicel Cup rugby league double header also saw the Enga Mioks register a 10-6 win over the improving Gulf Isapeas in the earlier match.
The Lae rugby league ground, despite chaos at the main gate by spectators crowding to get in, was packed to capacity and was attended by Morobe Governor Kelly Naru, Gulf Governor Havila Kavo and Enga Governor Peter Ipatas.
The main match was a wet and slipperyaffair. The Tigers managed to get off the right foot when centre Pasu Awani scored an unconverted try.
The home sidewere in again when halfback Ate Bina Wabo charged down a clearing kick collect a favourable bounce to run in Lae’s second four-pointer. His successful conversion had the Tigers 10-0 in front.
The Gurias’ class came to the fore in their response when winger Chris Jerry got the Kokopo-based franchises on the board while backrower Danny Patrick added the extras for the visitors to rail 10-6.
The heavens opened up in the second half and made open play almost impossible.
Points would be at a premium and Tigers winger Justin Olam took his chance when he beat several Gurias to score the match-winner which Wabo failed to convert.
Gurias’ centre Mathew Puke was put on report by referee Ben Kaupa for a shoulder charge on Mogi Wei Junior, while Tigers lock Ishmael Balkawa was cited for a late charge on a tackled opponent.
Awani become the third player to be placed on report for an elbow to an opponent’s head.
In the day’s first match, the Isapea started off strongly but handling errors and a fast finishing Mioks side ensured the Crocs stayed winless after four rounds.
Mioks scored the only points of the first 40 minutes through five-eighth Charlie Simon.
The Isapea rallied on numerous occasions and pushed into the Mioks defence time and again but ill-discipline saw them give 11 penalties away in the first half.
The second half was both scrappy and foul infested.
Referee Michael Kelepe put Isapea Livai Naivogo on report for a shoulder charge.
He sin-binned Miok centre Toby Kopi and Isapea captain and five-eighth Joshua Thomas and put Simon on report for kneeing an opponent.Mioks reserve Ryan Kiso scored an unconverted try before Isapea winger Tope Mitaharo sprinted 85-metres to score the Gulf side’s only points in the last quarter.
The try was converted by Netava Rarokoliwa.
Mioks fullback Michael Gawi was named man-of-the-match and was awarded K200 by Governor Kelly Naru. Naru then gave K300 to the Isapea and K1000 to the Mioks for winning.
The win sees the Mioks take second spot in Pool 2 ahead of the Gurias, who seem to have fizzled out after a two big wins in the opening rounds.
Results: Pool 1 – Muruks 20 Wigmen 12, Eagles 13 Lions 12. Bye: Vipers; Pool 2 – Tigers 14 Gurias 6, Mioks 10 Isapea 6. Bye: Lahanis
Match summary: Mioks 10 (C.Simon, R. Kiso tries C.Simon 1 con) Isapeas 6 (T.Mitaharo try, N. Rarokoliva 1 con)
Tigers 14 (P. Awena, C. Wabo, J. Olam tries C. Wabo 1 con ) Gurias 6 (C. Jerry try, D. Patrick 1 con).
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