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PNG Hunters to take on Ipswich Jets in do or die game

THE PNG Hunters will play the Ipswich Jets on Saturday in the Intrust Super Cup preliminary final after succumbing to minor premiers, the Townsville Blackhawks, 26-12 in the qualifying final over the weekend.
Yesterday at the North Ipswich Reserve, the Jets juggernaut rolled on, crushing the Easts Tigers 44-18, in a match that saw hooker Matt Parcell score five tries in his side’s 26-point flogging of last year’s grand finalists.
Blackhawks five-eighth Robert Lui, despite having a poor afternoon with the boot managing a single conversion from five attempts, brought his NRL experience to bear with a master-class in the No.6 jersey.
Lui, a current North Queensland Cowboys squad member, controlled the tempo of the match and called all the scoring plays leading his side to a convincing six tries to two win over Michael Marum’s men on Saturday evening at Jack Manski Oval, Townville.
Winger Zac Santo bagged four tries, typifying the host’s game plan of attacking the edges of the Hunters defensive line.
The win was coach Kristian Woolf’s first over Marum — the Q-Cup’s coach of 2015.
In the previous two matches this season, the Hunters had beaten the Blackhawks 22-16 and 28-26, making Saturday’s win all the more sweeter.
The Hunters points came from Adex Wera and Adam Korave, while Noel Zeming kicked two goals.
For the Blackhawks, Tom Humble and Mosese Pangai provided the other four-pointers.
This was the strongest possible line-up Woolf could put on the park, with only centre Kyle Feldt and half Ray Thompson the only absentees, having been called up for the Cowboys for their NRL playoff match against the Brisbane Broncos the same evening.
For the Hunters, all their key men were on deck, with the only omission being bench prop Enoch Maki, who was ruled out for the rest of the season with anterior cruciate ligament damage to his right knee.
The Hunters spine in captain Israel Eliab, halfback Ase Boas and hooker Wartovo Puara were kept quiet, while fullback Stargroth Amean’s susceptibility to the bomb was exploited.
The Hunters returned to Kokopo yesterday to regroup and prepare for the match against the Jets — another team they have beaten twice in the regular season.
Townsville Blackhawks 26 (Zac Santo 4, Tom Humble, Mosese Pangai tries; Robert Lui conversion) PNG Hunters 12 (Adex Wera, Adam Korave tries; Noel Zeming 2 conversions)  The National/One PNG

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