Papua New Guinea Hunters win Queensland Cup Grand Final in last minute

John Coomer Roar Guru

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    The PNG Hunters have scored in the final minute to win their first Queensland Cup in a thrilling finish at Suncorp Stadium against the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

    Trailing 10-6, Hunters’ five-eighth, captain and man-of-the-match Ase Boas put through a grubber as their last throw of the dice. Interchange forward Willie Minoga won a desperate race for the ball, grounding it just before the dead-ball line.

    Boas then calmly slotted the conversion from beside the posts to put the Hunters in the lead for the first time in the match.

    The Falcons then went for a short kick-off that didn’t work. The hooter sounded seconds later, sparking wild celebrations among the Hunters players and many in the crowd. No doubt the entire population of PNG will be celebrating long and hard for the next few days.

    Earlier, the Falcons had a dream start to the match, scoring two tries in the first seven minutes of the first half. The first came in their opening set, when they threw the ball wide to try and exploit the Hunters’ slide defence. It worked, with winger Matt Soper-Lawler crossing in the corner.

    The Falcons scored again five minutes later when halfback Ryley Jacks put hard-running backrower Joe Stimson over.

    The Hunters managed to steady their defence for the rest of the half, but couldn’t hang onto the ball for long enough to mount any attacking pressure. They went into the sheds trailing 10-0.

    They needed to score first in the second half to get some confidence and the Falcons did them a huge favour when they knocked on from the kick-off. In the next set, Ase Boas put in a grubber and his brother Watson Boas ended up scoring from it to get the Hunters on the scoreboard.

    Both teams were willing to throw the ball around in very warm September conditions in Brisbane, but were let down by their handling throughout the game. The completion rate of the Hunters, in particular, was poor. They looked very nervous. But the defence from both sides was also very willing. You couldn’t fault their commitment or desperation.

    The win means the Hunters will play the winner of the New South Wales Cup in the curtain-raiser to the Melbourne/Cowboys grand final next weekend. Their opponent will be the winner of Penrith and Wyong, played tonight.

    It’s the fourth season for the very popular PNG Hunters in the Queensland Cup, and this win is their history-making first premiership.

    Final score

    PNG Hunters 12
    Sunshine Coast Falcons 10