Rabaul Gurias beat Pride. Photo. Cairns Post
NORTHERN Pride coach Jason Demetriou concedes his side was outmuscled and out-enthused by the Rabaul Gurias after the Papua New Guinea team registered an upset 29-22 victory at Barlow Park on Saturday night.
The final scoreline flattered the Pride, who struggled with cohesion in attack and defence as they were outscored six tries to four.
Inaccurate goal kicking threatened to thwart the Gurias when the Pride drew within six points after late converted tries to Sam Pau and Aidan Smith. But Gurias halfback and man of the match Ase Boas, who finished the game with two tries, sealed the victory with a field goal near full-time.
After watching the Pride beat the Cowboys under-20s 20-18 the previous week, Demetriou was disappointed his team didn't aim up against the Gurias.
"I felt the last week or so the attitude hasn't been great at training," he said.
"I addressed that last night (Friday), but I think that was the case today.
"I don't think we muscled up. We came up against a very physical and good side.
"The Gurias are really well drilled and came at us with some good firepower and we didn't match it early on.
"In the second half we did a lot better. We broke down technically, but physically we aimed up a lot better."
The Pride dominated field position in the opening stages and found themselves 6-0 in front in the fifth minute following a converted try to fullback Hezron Murgha.
The home side appeared certain to cross again in the next couple of sets but were denied by the Gurias' scrambling defence.
The visitors then hit back on their first visit to the other end when Boas found space after the Pride defence rushed up on the left edge.
Boas was in everything and scored again later in the half along with Breadly Simon to set-up a 14-6 advantage for the Gurias at the break.
Demetriou, who took a squad of 27 into the game, made a host of changes for the second half, and the Pride's fortunes looked brighter when winger Davin Crampton scored courtesy of a grubber kick two minutes after the restart.
But the Gurias quickly regained control of the match as they began finding gaping holes in the Pride's backpedalling defence.
Nelson Daplen, Albert Patak and Dion Aiye all scored in quick succession to establish a match-winning lead.
The Pride play their final trial match against Mackay in Ayr on Saturday, with Demetriou planning to field a full-strength side.
"I had to know who's up for it and who's not, and who's good enough and who's not at this point in time," Demetriou said.
"I learnt a lot today from within my whole squad."
Rabaul Gurias to play tough
THE Agmark Gurias will not be taking lightly this weekend’s game against the Stop N Shop Port Moresby Vipers, coach Michael Marum says.
Admitting it will be a tough encounter, Marum pointed out the teams were the only two top five sides that will be playing each other this weekend at Kalabond oval dubbed “the graveyard”.
Both sides are coming off losses last weekend in Mendi - Gurias to Muruks and Vipers to the Wigmen.
Marum said yesterday there were a few key areas that his side did not make the grade in Mendi last week.
“Despite the late travel up to Mendi, the boys tried their best but ended up with incomplete sets. Overall the team did not tackle and attack effectively,” he said.
He said these were the main areas they were working hard to improve on during their training sessions this week.
Without pointing fingers at any particular play maker, Marum expects his team to play their defence and attack well this weekend.
Marum said Sunday’s game would be a tough one.
“Vipers have a wealth of experience with most of its players in the Kumuls side so we will be playing hard this weekend.”
Rodney Pora returned and joined the team yesterday (Thursday).
Marum said the Gurias had a number of injuries, which was having an impact on their overall performance.
“A few of our players are down with injuries from last weekend including Kumuls fullback Albert Patak and Chris Jerry with knee injuries. These two will not play on Sunday.
“We have lost 8 to 10 of our players due to disciplinary actions so we have gone back to our young boys from the local competition,” Marum said.
Gurias are sitting on fourth place on the points table and the Vipers a place behind.
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