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-Halfback and skipper of the visiting Australian Prime Minister’s XIII team Daly Cherry-Evans guided his side to a 34-18 win over PNG on Saturday at the Oil Search National Football Stadium.
Coach Mal Meninga admits it was a complete turn-around of how his side performed in the opening stanza as the home team gave a strong come-back in the second half.
It was a poor kick off to start the match by Jake Clifford who kicked the ball out on the full and gave the home team the advantage to have the first set of attack. The Australians stood firm in defence and managed to shut down every set plays by the home team.
Cherry-Evans scored a double in the four tries scored against PNG in the opening half including tries by Nick Cotric and Jake Trbojevic with successful 4/4 conversions by Zac Lomax.
A few minutes later the home fans invaded the field of play following a misjudgment that one of the light towers in the North West corner was falling. The match resumed shortly afterwards.
The home team had a slow start in the first half given a dominating performance by the Australian forwards who were led by David Klemmer, Jordan McLean, Tyson Frizell and Jake Trbojevic including Aaron Woods and Reagan Campbell-Gillard coming off the bench.
PNG’s regrouped and muscled up in defence resulting in massive shots exerted on the visitors. This paved way for Lachlan Lam to place a grubber into open space as Rhyse Martin gain possession to score the home team’s first try. Martin converted his own try for a 24-6 halftime score.
At the restart, PNG came up with a ball handling error before Australia’s Enari Tuala manage to scoop up the ball and sending Corey Allan to score the first try of the second half untouched. Lomax booted the conversion successfully to maintain their lead.
Both teams had their interchange players coming off the bench with helping hands to support defensively and also spark up attacking set plays.
The latter saw the home fans cheering up with pride and passion for their home side as good coordination plays by the halves (Lachlan Lam, Watson Boas, Kyle Laybutt, James Segeyaro, Tom Butterfield) and the forwards department. Laybutt managed to score a try from a grubber.
Skipper David Mead and his backline were hard at work and their efforts paid off as he (Mead) set up Justin Olam to score an untouched try.
Martin successfully converted the two tries and it was game on again for the home team to give their best performance and keeping the Australian’s hard at work especially in defence.
However the home fans cheering momentum lowed as Chad Townsend collects a loose ball error by Mead at the back end to score the final try of the game.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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