The QLD PNG Open Men’s side has had real difficulty fielding a full side over the past few weeks and this week was particularly difficult. So much so that 45 year old former Kumul, Elias Paiyo, relinquished his coaching duties to Lee Sharp, and pulled on the boots. Paiyo was joined by Jarome, Bruno and Sam Tau who all had not played in years.
The Cook Islanders were quick to rack up the points against a team made up of crack youngsters and a bunch of old blokes who had long hung up the boots. At half time the score was PNG 6 – Cook Is. 14. The six points were courtesy of an Alan White try from a break by Israel Talligatus. LJ Waddups added the two.
The Cook Islanders came back after the second half with another two quick tries, making the score PNG 10 – Cook Is 26. But the Kokomos were not about to give up.
LJ put Seb Samuels through a hole and made a massive break and was tackled on the line. A quick play the ball to LJ Waddups saw him add another 6 points to the scoreboard for PNG with a converted try. Taking the score to PNG 12 – Cook Is 26.
PNG kept the pressure on and Isreal Talligatus, an u18s player who stepped up to fill in for the Men’s Open team scored down the wing. It was a move started by the Kumul veteran, Paiyo, who passed it to Bobby Tau an on to Talligatus – a youngster with real speed to burn. The score now PNG 18 to Cook Islands 26.
Full time was fast approaching and the PNG boys refused to give in. They kept testing the Cook Island defence and eventually found it wanting. A break from the mecurial Alan White put them on the attack. An deft kick from Cameron Boga lead to a try by Brad Frith. LJ Waddups scored the much needed extra two points.
Just two points behind, the Kokomos stayed in the hunt for a win and were on the attack when the full-time whistle beat them.
Not a bad performance for a team that had not only not played together but hadn’t actually played in years! The heart and passion they displayed, is what QLD PNG Kokomos is all about. Never, ever, ever giving in or giving up.
Coach, Elias Paiyo, said that he was proud of their efforts. LJ Waddups took control of the team and successfully steered them around the paddock, and this was backed up with some brilliant individual plays from the younger players. Paiyo was impressed that they stood tall in a team that really was under the pump from the start.
“You can’t be anything but proud,” he said.
QLD PNG’s Thame Kellemer set the standard for the match when a few minutes into the game he pulled off what had to be the tackle of the day.
The Cook Islands were awarded a controversial try by the referee as the player clearly dropped the ball. However the referee’s decision stood and further salt was rubbed into the wound when they kicked the extras putting them in the lead 6 – nil.
Somewhat shell-shocked from the disappointing start to the game, the Kokomos were hit by the hard-charging Cookies again, making it 10 to nil.
The QLD PNG boys recomposed themselves and Jayden Sharp put the first points on the board for QLD PNG. Lachlan Medcraft made sure of the extras. The score as they headed into halftime PNG 6 – Cook Is. 10.
The Kokomos’ boys came back firing. Isreal Talligatus scored early locking the scores up at 10 all after Medcraft missed a difficult kick from the sideline.
Not long after the PNG boys had regained possession and a series of great attacking plays put them 20 metres out from the try line when Jayden Sharp put up a pin point perfect kick to the corner and Jamahl Rose showed a quick pair of heels in the chase for the ball and scored in the corner.
The Kokomos were in front for the first time leading 14 points to Cook Is 10.
The Cook Islands boys, however, were not about to throw in the towel. They hit back with two quick tries and again marked their authority on the game. Cook Islands now had 6 point lead over the Kokomos.
The Kokomos boys showed real heart and dug deep, not willing to concede a loss and they were rewarded for their efforts. Danny Willie scored in the dying seconds of the game and Lachlan Medcraft made sure of the two points to record a draw against the Cook Islands.
When asked about the u18s performance, Coach, Lee Sharp, thought the boys played well and he was really happy with the effort. Looking at what he needs to see in the upcoming QPICC carnival, he stated that he would like to see the guys start the game at the same tempo as they finished it.
The U16s struggled through the first half in their trial match against the Cook Island boys. The somewhat lacklustre first half was disappointing with the Cook Islands piling on 18 points. PNG, on the other hand, put four points on the board thanks to a try by Bodhi Banister.
What was said to boys at half-time remains unknown but the second half performance was an entirely different story. Cook Is scored a converted try early in the second half, extending their lead to PNG 4 v Cook Is 24.
An injury to Kokomo, Donovan Obi, stopped the game momentarily. As the game recommenced PNG strung together some beautiful team plays and managed to work their way to within the try line. As they looked to cross it, Cook Island stripped the ball and awarded the PNG boys a second dig that they were determined to take advantage of and they did courtesy of a hard charging try from Josh Paiyo and a successful conversion by Danley Mark. PNG 10 v Cook Is 24.
This seemed to spark a resurgence in the PNG boys who showed flashes of absolute brilliance, with incredible team work. It seems the connections they struggled to make happen in the first half were beginning to work with another try for PNG from Danley Mark, who was unable to convert his own try. The score now PNG 14 v 24 and this was the final score at the full time siren.
Coach, Matt Muir, revealed after the match, that the team had taken on a bunch of Rugby Union boys from Nudgee college, some of whom had never actually played league before.
Asked what he was looking for from the boys, Muir made it clear that he wanted the boys to play with more intensity and aggression in the upcoming QPICC games.
“We need to look at our attitudes and learn to compete for everything, we need to make the opposition work for the win”, he said.
“The game plan is not to play one-up football but to throw the ball wide and up the tempo. We need to keep the pressure on in attack and ask questions of the opposition defence,” he stated.
While the boys suffered an early setback with Tynan Han suffering a wrist injury, the Kokomos boys took on the Cook Islander boys undaunted by the size of their opposition. Joe Hoerler got an early break and then secured a penalty after the Cook Is opposition went in high. Unfortunately, PNG were unable to capitalise on their early foray into the opposition territory.
The first half continued to be a tense arm wrestle, neither side giving way to the other. Cook Is were the first to blink, with the classy PNG representative, Will Boland crossing the line and putting the Kokomos in front 4 nil.
Kavana Kurt equalised just on half time for the Cook Islands with the 4 All half-time score reflecting the tight match.
Giovanni Marius made a 3om break with a bustling run through Cook Island traffic that put them within 5m of the line. Marius backed up for the second phase of the next play and looked to have crossed the line but the referee called him short. PNG kept the pressure on with Andrew Hill also looking to cross the line but the touchie called him out.
The Cook Island boys answered the pressure with a try from Xavier Stowers, which was converted by Jay Masters. The Cook Island boys had garnered the lead. PNG 4 – Cook Is. 10.
A beautiful kick off from PNG, lead to them regathering the ball from the kick off. They managed to get to within 10m of the try line but a pushed pass put Cook Island back in possession and made the most of it with another try. This was followed up with another try in the corner.
The Final Score was PNG 4 v Cook Is. 18.
After the game, Coach, Neville Chang, said he was very proud of the boys performance, especially considering a lot of them were 12 and 13 year olds. He thinks correcting a few small things will see positive results as they move into the QPICC carnival.
“We need to hold on to the footy and finish set plays and not revert to one-off individual plays. They also need to have a bit of faith and stop second guessing themselves”, said Chang.
He added that over the next two weeks he will be concentrating on welding the boys together as a team.
Alan White, put the PNG boys on the board for the Lee Sharp trained, u18s Kokomos, and Shaun Hoerler made sure of the kick to put PNG in front 6 nil against Tonga.
Tonga responded with a beautiful try down the side line from Goor whose step and speed kept him out PNG’s reach. Sietoa Teesi missed a difficult kick. PNG 6 – Tonga 4.
The Kokomos’ attacking speed caught Tonga offguard with Lachlan Medcraft scoring but the kick was unsuccessful. PNG extended their lead to 10 over Tonga 4.
Bobby Tau stepped and weaved his way through the Tongan defence and offloaded to no. 16. who made a 30 metre run down the sideline but were unable to make the most of the opportunity. Instead Devontai Secmanitafa crossed for the second try of the day for Tonga. Sietoa Teesi made sure of the extras and the scores were locked at 10 a piece.
Another try by the fleet-footed Goor, and a conversion by Teesi had the PNG boys behind by six points. The half-time score, PNG 10 – Tonga 16.
An early second half try by Tonga’s, Troy Shepherd, had Tonga leading the match 20-10.
Alan White, who had been successfully probing the Tongan defensive line in the first half did so again, but Hoerler failed to convert. The PNG boys had closed the gap to 6 points. PNG 14 – Tonga 20.
Tonga were next to hit back with Devontai Secmanitafa bagging his second for the match. Shaun Hoerler for PNG responded in quick succession but was unable to convert his own try. The score PNG 18 – 24.
Tonga sealed the match with a try by MJ Havili. The final score PNG 18 – Tonga 28
The Kokomos boys showed real promise but a few unforced errors at critical times cost them. Like our other PNG teams they start well but are unable to sustain the pressure on their opponents in the second half. Trial games against the Cook Is next week will help iron out the kinks and allow the combination and structures to come together.