PNG Hunters beat Redcliffe Dolphins in Queensland Cup opener | Pacific Beat

PNG Hunters beat Redcliffe Dolphins in Queensland Cup opener

PNG Hunters beat Redcliffe Dolphins in Queensland Cup opener

Updated 3 March 2014, 10:13 AEST

After all the hype and all the build-up, the Hunters have delivered for rugby league crazy Papua New Guinea.

The team flying the flag for PNG and featuring players from all over the country have won their opening match in the Queensland Cup, beating the well fancied Redcliffe Dolphins by 24 points to 18.

Watching events unfold on an historic sporting day was Australia Network's Pacific Correspondent, and a former captain of the PNG national side, Sean Dorney.

Presenter: Pacific Correspondent, Sean Dorney reporting

CWHISTEL & CHANNEL 9 COMMENTATOR: [Whistle] And Papua New Guinea to receive in Ctheir first appearance in the Intrust Super Cup. They are the first team to be Cinducted into the competiton since the Sunshine Coast in 2009.

CDORNEY: There was quite a crowd at the Dolphin's oval for this first round Cclash - a signifcant number of them Papua New Guineans.

CPNG WOMEN: [Squealing]

CPNG GUY: Ohh, sir. Come on!!

CDORNEY: But the PNG Hunters were the first to score.

CCHANNEL 9 COMMENTATOR: The hunters on the march again. Eliab - and now the Cfullback. He throws it back to Eliab and the captain's got the first try for Cthe Hunters. (Whistle)

CDORNEY: The number of Papua New Guineans who turned up was quite astounding. CTom Adamson is a Papua New Guinean Brisbane resident who's organised an annual Crugby league competiton between Pacific Islander communities in Queensland.

CADAMSON: Yeah, excellent, a really good turnout.

CDORNEY: How many do you thinK?

CADAMSON: I don't' know. Perhaps six thousand I reckon.

CDORNEY: I didn't realise there were that many Papua New Guineans in Brisbane.

CADAMSON: No. There is. Because when we run our PNG Rugby League we get a few Csupporters coming along. There's a lot of PNGs that people don't realise living Cin Brisbane and the wider community you know.

CDORNEY: As the game went on and the enthusiasm was evident the commentators on CChannel Nine wondered what the reaction would be like up in PNG where it was Cbeing shown live.

CCHANNEL 9 COMMENTATOR: I'd love to be in Papua New Guinea right now watching Cthis game with the locals.

CDORNEY: The Hunters led from the start and although the Redcliffe Dolphins Clevelled the score the Hunters surged ahead and as the final whistle was about Cto be blown they led 24 to 18.

CCHANNEL 9 COMMENTATOR: Well, this is it. What a moment this'll be for the PNG CHunters. The siren sounds and the celebrations start.

CCHEERING: [Loud cheering]

CDORNEY: The PNG Hunters Coach, Michael Marum, was delighted.

CMARUM:Yeah, a good performance from the boys. Of course in the first 20 minutes Cwe scored some points there. That probably lifted the morale. I'm pretty Cimpressed with the way the guys defended as well. So yeah.

CDORNEY: The defence was pretty impressive I thought?

CMARUM: That was one thing. We went back after the trial game and we worked hard Con. It paid off today. So, yes, just basically defence all over the park.

CDORNEY: It looks as though the boys have been in a fair bit of training. Can Cyou Talk about how much they've done?

CMARUM: They've been together for the past eleven weeks and we've still got a Clot of stuff to work on in terms of our defence but I'm quite impressed with Cthe way we played this first game.

CDORNEY: And next week?

CMARUM: We've got three home games in Kokopo but our focues now will be on the CCutters game. It's going to be at home so I hope we'll get good support back Cthere and we'll expect another good game, yeah.

CDORNEY: I also caught up with the captain, Israel Eliab.

CDORNEY: Well, Israel, it was a very great start wasn't it?

CELIAB: It was good for the boys. Very excited. A win for the boys. It's our Cinaugural season but the boys are doing a very fine job at the moment.

CDORNEY: There was a lot of good defence I thought?

CELIAB: Yeah. We've been working pretty hard on defence thoughout the week and Cit's worked out here.

CDORNEY: And you scored yourself?

CELIAB: Yeah - I scored a try. The opening try I think.

CDORNEY: This crowd was very impressive. Did you expect as many Papua New CGuineans here?

CELIAB: We expected a lot to come out here and cheer for the boys. A very good Ccrowd out here.

CDORNEY: The Chairman of the PNG Rugby League, Sandis Tsaka, says there is still Ca long way to go.

CSANDIS TSAKA: It's going to be a long season so it's good to get a win. To get Ca win away it actually gives the boys confidence. It's a new comp. We're in it Cfor the first time. We actually did not know what we were expecting. Now that Cthe boys have got this 80 minutes out of the way and they get a win hopefully Cit will give them to confidence to know that we can compete with the other Cteams in the Intrust Cup and it's good to get a win.

CDORNEY: They started off really well and then it came back to 12 all and it Clooked a little bit nervous for a while I think.

CTSAKA: Yes, you'd expect that you know. It's a new team we're putting together Cwith boys from all over the country. But they've connected well over the past Cten weeks. And more importantly for us, you know, it's about getting those Clittle combinations along. And as the season progresses the boys will naturally Cpick up - hopefully. But, you know, for confidence it's good to get a win. You Cknow, we have three home games next. It will give the boys confidence that if Cwe can win away maybe we can turn our home base into a fortress.

CDORNEY: Even Papua New Guinea's Sports Minister, Justin Tkatchenko, was there.

CTKATCHENKO: Well, it's a fantastic effort! All the hard work. Blood, sweat and Ctears by the SP Hunters have now finally paid off. You know, Rugby League has Cgone up and down in Papua New Guinea over many years. Since the Government Cintervened, came on board, backed up everybody, we're now finally seeing the Cresults that these boys deserve, the sporting code deserves, it's absolutely Cfantastic for Papua New Guinea and I'll tell you everybody back home is just Cgoing crazy. So, a fantastic start for the season. It's only one game - we've Cstill got another 24, 23 to go. But it will be fantastic when we have the teams Ccome up to Papua New Guinea to Kokopo. I think it will be really great to see a Chome crowd backing the team. But if this is any idea of what we're going to Cachieve over the next 12 months - watch out Queensland here we come! (Laughs)

CDORNEY: Another spectator from Papua New Guinea at the game was the Governor of CPort Moresby Powers Pakop.

CPOWERS PARKOP: I'm Chairman of the PNG Rugby League Foundation which used to be Cthe PNG NRL bid. And our goal is to get a franchise into the NRL. And we are Chalf way there. And we are here to show that we qualify, that we've got Ceveything to get us into the NRL. That's our dream and we are not deviating Cfrom that dream.

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