Written by Michael Carbone
Photo by PNG Rugby Football League
Two of the six Round 5 Digicel Cup matches took place in Lae on Sunday 2nd of August. PNG Hunters Head Coach, Matthew Church discussed the reasoning for the split round on his weekly Papua New Guinea Rugby League update on the Chasing Kangaroos podcast.
“Unfortunately, due to a Covid outbreak in Port Moresby last week, Digicel Cup organisers had to seek advice from the State of Emergency Controller. The decision for the safety of everyone was made to suspend the games in Port Moresby.”
The two matches played in Lae were unaffected. Game one saw a tight contest between the Mendi Muruks and Waghi Tumbe. Goal kicking let down the Muruks in Round 4, but it proved the difference this week as they earned an 18-16 win.
Joe Honk, Dickson Pipi, Stanton Albert all crossed the white stripe for Mendi, with Melix Wanis landing all of his goal attempts. For Waghi Tumbe, Saki Peter scored a double with Emmanuel Waine scoring their 3rd try. Peter kicked 2 from 3 goals.
Game one was a battle between the top of the ladder and the bottom. The Undefeated defending champions, Lae Tigers scoring seven tries in their 34 -24 victory over Mt Hagen Eagles.
“You would expect the Tigers to win.” Church commented, “But Mt Hagen put up a spirited efforted to only lose by 10.”
Jokedi Bire scored a try for the Tigers. Joe Joshua, Sonny Wabo, and Enoch Sine all produced doubles.
Charlie Simon had an off day with the boot kicking 3 from 7. For the Eagles Bryan Noki, Adam Korowa, Allen Karapus and John Kerepa scored tries with Bernard Noel kicking 4 from 4 goals.
Digicel Cup organisers await further advice from the State of Emergency Controllers this week in hope that the rest of round 5 can be completed on the weekend.
Church concludes, “Whether they are played in Port Moresby or have to be relocated is yet to be seen.”
For Matt Church’s recap and review of each round of the 2020 Digicel Cup, tune in to the Chasing Kangaroos Podcast here.