SP PNG Hunters moved into the Intrust Super Cup top four when they overpowered
the Cutters 26-14 in an entertaining clash in Mackay.
A large contingent of PNG supporters urged on the Hunters as they unleashed three tries in
a 14-minute blitz in the first half to take control of the match.
The victory mirrored the Hunters’ remarkable start to the year as they overcame some early
setbacks to register their second win from three matches.
Winger Brendon Gutuno broke his arm in just the third minute, forcing the Hunters into a
quick reshuffle before Mackay opened the scoring six minutes later with a try to centre
But the Hunters began to make ground through the middle as captain Ila Alu led the charge
and his teammates followed.
Samuel Yegip (13th minute) and Sylvester Nano (23rd minute) scored tries to push the
Hunters ahead before Junior Rau’s 27th minute try gave the visitors a handy lead.
It’s been a brave start by the Hunters – they were unable to play any trial matches because
of COVID restrictions and they were forced to relocate to Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast
for the season.
But they shook the life out of heavyweights Wynnum Manly in round one and then powered
past Ipswich Jets and Mackay tonight to put the competition on notice.
“We’re very pleased with our start because we knew we faced a challenge given the unusual
circumstances for us this season,” coach Matt Church said.
“We’ll never use that as an excuse though – we know that means nothing when we take the
“I was proud of the way our guys stuck to their task. We wanted to challenge them through
the middle and we were able to change some angles and get some nice results.”
Gutuno, who scored three tries against Ipswich last week, was taken to hospital, where
doctors diagnosed a broken arm that will sideline him for several weeks.
His teammates dug deep though, withstanding Mackay’s fast start to the second half that
pushed them within touching distance with a 16-8 scoreline.
But tries to Watson Boas (59th minute) and Edwin Ipape (68th minute) moved the Hunters
clear before a late Mackay try through Kyle Krisanski-Kennedy.
The Hunters also rued some tries disallowed on the final pass that would have sent them
“We really started to play well once we overcame those setbacks and that enabled us to
take the lead,” Church said.
“The Cutters never go away – they always continue to challenge – so we had to keep
“There are no easy games in this competition so we’ll get another good idea of where we’re
at when we take on the Sunshine Coast next Saturday.”
The Hunters will host the Falcons at Runaway Bay while the Cutters will travel to
Rockhampton to meet the Capras in Rivalry Round with both teams seeking their first win of
SP PNG HUNTERS 26 (Samuel Yegip, Sylvester Namo, Junior Rau, Watson Boas, Edwin
Ipape tries, Charlie Simon three goals) bt MACKAY CUTTERS 14 (Michael Bell, Kane
Bradley, Kyle Krisanski-Kennedy tries, Ata Hingano goal) at BB Print Stadium, Mackay.