Capras beaten but draw confidence from PNG performance
RUGBY LEAGUE: The CQ Capras have gone down 18-10 to the PNG Hunters in a quality Intrust Super Cup clash that coach Kim Williams said could have gone either way.
The game was played in stifling conditions at a packed Oil Search National Football Stadium in Port Moresby on Saturday afternoon.
The Capras have not beaten the Hunters at home but the way they started the game suggested they were about to change that.
With skipper and halfback Jack Madden back at the helm after a 10-week absence through injury, the Capras started the game strongly.
They crossed for their first try, a trademark spectacular finish in the corner by winger Junior Kirisome, on their first set in the second minute.
The Hunters then scored twice to lead 10-4 at half-time.
Utility Maipele Morseau scored for the Capras in the 56th minute to level things up before PNG assumed the lead again in the 62nd, setting the stage for a grandstand finish.
Williams said his team continued to apply pressure but could not break the Hunters' defence, with Dave Taylor and Connor Broadhurst pulled down agonisingly close to the tryline in the closing stages.
"We had quite a few attacking opportunities and we were pretty well camped in their territory for that final 10 minutes,” Williams said.
"We threw everything at them but to their credit they defended very well.
"It could have gone either way. We were right in that game until the last minute or two when they scored a runaway try which sealed it.
"It was a high-quality game with very few errors, and both teams defended very well.”
Williams made several positional changes, which included Taylor playing at prop in the first half and Bill Cullen starting in the second row.
"We needed to change something in the middle channel and the forward pack in general,” he said.
"I think for the most part that worked really well.
"I was pretty happy with the performance of the forwards this week, it was a big improvement on our previous game.”
Williams said Madden did not miss a beat on his return, and Aaron Flanagan and Peter Rogers both added some energy off the bench.
"PNG are starting to look a bit more like the premiers of last year. They're very hard to beat at home and that's definitely a confidence boost for us,” he said.
"We've got another tough one away this week against Redcliffe so it was important that we improved significantly on our last game which we did.
"Hopefully we're heading back in the right direction.”
- Intrust Super Cup: PNG Hunters d CQ Capras 18-10
- Hastings Deering Colts: Victoria Thunderbolts d CQ Capras 26-12