Sport: PNG Hunters end tough campaign on winning note

8:33 am on 2 September 2019

The Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league team ended a miserable season on a winning note as they pipped the Souths Logan Magpies 25-24 in their final match of the Intrust Super Cup season.

The result snapped an eight match winless run and ensured inaugural head coach Michael Marum ended his six-year reign in charge on a positive note, although he did not with the team to Brisbane.

The PNG Hunters snapped their losing streak against Souths Logan.

The Hunters beat Souths Logan both home and away this season. Photo: PNG Hunters Media

The Hunters had conceded an average of 51 points in their previous six away games and only managed a total haul of 54 points for in the same period, but were much better on both attack and defence on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams scored five tries a piece at Davies Park and scores were locked at 24-all with two minutes remaining. Veteran playmaker Ase Boas had a field goal attempt charged down by the Magpies defence but was given a second bite at the cherry from the resulting repeat set and made no mistake in slotting the ball through the uprights.

Papua New Guinea are anticipating the return of rugby league to be played in the country again.

Ase Boas kicked the match-winning field goal. Photo: QRL Media

Hunters assistant coach Glen Nami told QRL Media said he was proud of the team's fighting spirit.

"It's been tough but coming out fighting to the end is something that the boys have done and I am so proud of them, I am proud of the efforts today," he said.

"We talked about this during the week, we wanted to finish on a high and be more positive (to) end our season. Everyone did great; everyone's efforts (were) good.

"I think Ase (Boas) played well - his leadership was obvious, and we had boys like Stanton (Albert) leading up front and I think Ase and Stanton were good today for us. We are grateful for the win."

PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum.

Michael Marum is stepping down as Hunters coach after six seasons in charge. Photo: RNZ Pacific/Melvin Levongo

2019 has been a year to forget for the Hunters, who lifted the Intrust Super Cup title only two years ago. The Port Moresby club only managed four wins in 23 games and struggled following the departure of a number of key players in the off-season.

Michael Marum announced in July he would step down as PNG Hunters coach at the end of the season. The former Kumuls international plans to move to a new development role within PNG Rugby League and will remain in charge of the men's national side until the 2021 World Cup.

He has allowed assistant coaches Glen Nami and Roderick Puname to take on larger roles with the Hunters team this season, as he increasingly stepped back from frontline duties, with Sunday's season finale not the first time he has handed his wider staff full control of match preparation.