The under 16s from the QLD PNG Kokomos & QLD Niue kicked off their trial match at 12:3o on a hot and dry, 30 degree, Gold Coast Saturday and the game looked to be as hot as the ambient temperature. It was agreed by both teams that instead of playing a match of two halves that they switch to 4 x 15 minute quarters so the players could stay hydrated in the heat.
After playing the National Anthems for the visiting Niue team and for PNG, the spectators were treated to the Niue equivalent of the Haka. The cultural element being a key feature of the Queensland Pacific Island Cultural Carnival (QPICC) tradition.
Niue opened the encounter with a deft try by Frazier Ginn. They failed to add the extras. The score Nuie 4 – PNG 0.
Jayden Sharp busted through the Nuie defence, the big 40m run setting up a second play with a break by Joshua Paiyo and quick pass by Ben Kay which resulted in a try by PNG’s Cruise Ten. Jarone Clunn added another two points to give PNG the lead 6 – 4
PNG kept the pressure on with a pinpoint kick from Cruise Ten from the centre of the field 20 metres out and into the corner. The try was beautifully caught and Ashley Faulkner scored for PNG. Jarone Clunn missed the kick. PNG extended their lead 10 -4 over Niue.
Just before the end of the first quarter Niue scored another converted try. They went into the break at the end of the first quarter at 10 all.
PNG’s, Jayden Sharp, bustled over the line, in the opening minutes of the second quarter but the referee disallowed it claiming he dropped the ball over the line.
Cruise Ten put through another beautiful kick which saw George Hill score. Clunn failed to convert. PNG 14 – Niue 10.
This was followed by another PNG try. This time it was Jarone Clunn who also converted his own try. This put PNG into a 10 point lead. PNG 20 – Niue 10.
Niue’s Vana Finau, scored off a break by Nuie’s flyer, Tesi Niu who passed it to Finau to score. Unfortunately, they were unable to convert.
The Half Time Score: PNG 20 – Niue 14.
They say many games are won or lost in the third quarter and this game is was no different. Niue lifted a gear, and began to pressure the PNG defence. After a couple of failed attempts early in the third, Niue scored courtesy of Tesi Niu. The converted try made it 20 all. It was anyone’s game.
The unrelenting heat and niggling injuries were beginning to take its toll on the PNG boys and Nuie capitalised on it by scoring a converted try leading into the final quarter. The score Niue 26 – PNG 20.
Unfortunately the PNG boys were unable pull it together sufficiently to withstand the sustained pressure from the Nuie boys, who scored three quick tries in succession. The final score Niue 42 – PNG 20.
The Kokomos boys looked the goods early in the game and really had it in them to win. The heat became a factor for both teams late in the game and it really could have gone either way.