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.