The PNG Hunters are still unbeaten at National Football Stadium after defeating South Logan 22-20 in an entertaining affair.
Co-captain Noel Zeming scored the match winner just on the fulltime to break the hearts of the Magpies, who were left to rue some costly goal kicking misses.
The visitors were the first to score through outside backs Marion Seve just two minutes into the game and then centre Scott Doyle in the sixth minute.
However, Doyle was unable to convert the tries and the home team hit back with forward Enock Maki crashing over the line. Zeming’s conversion brought the score to 8-6 in the first 20 minutes.
A lazy penalty by the Hunters invited the Magpies to attack just 20m from the Hunters line and they capitalised on the opportunity with fullback Jack Joass picking up a loose ball from an offload to dive on the try line. Again, the conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
The Magpies forward pack dominated the middle, making it easy for the halves Phil Dennis and Sam Scarlett to control the team around leading into halftime break with Magpies leading 12-6.
When the sides returned to the field, the home team wasted no time in mounting their comeback, with their forward pack charging hard from the kickoff.
This game them enough field possession to allow hooker Wartovo Puara to run the ball on the last and put a grubber kick for five-eighth Ase Boas to dive over and claim a try.
Zeming wasted no time to convert to draw scores level 12-12 early in the second half.
However, an ugly tackle resulted in a penalty and the Magpies made good use of it, going on the attack.
Again Joass was heavily involved and this time he threw a big dummy to crash over the line to give his team the lead.
Doyle converted this try to bring the scoreboard 18-12 in their favour with 30 minutes remaining in the game.
A dropped ball by Adam Korave presented the Magpies with another attacking opportunity, and the pressure to defend their line saw Hunters give away a penalty right in front of the uprights. The visitors extended their lead after they opted to take the penalty conversion, with Doyle again kicking successfully.
With 10 minutes remaining and with the Magpies leading by eighth points; the Hunters big men starting to run hard, straight lines in an effort to boost their team.
Some resulting good field position gave Ase Boas the chance to put in a chip-kick for Zeming to score a spectacular try and wasted no time in converting it.
Magpies were penalised for hands on the ball on winger Philemon Kimisive as the Hunters launched a last-minute attack with less than a minute on the clock.
The Hunters forwards charging hard to add more pressure on the Magpies and rake Wartovo Puara was able to run the ball to the blindside to attract two defenders to put an unmarked Zeming who scored the winning try to bring the Hunters home.
PNG HUNTERS 22 (Noel Zeming 2, Enock Maki, Ase Boas tries; Noel Zeming 3 goals) defSOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 20 (Jack Joass 2, Marion Seve, Scott Doyle tries; Scott Doyle 2 goals) at National Football Stadium, Port Moresby.