Papua New Guinea have ended the New Zealand Hawks hopes of competing in an International Cup Grand Final, winning the semi final 12.3:75 – 4.4:28.
Right from the start the PNG Mosquitos were on the front foot, shooting out to an early lead.
Their class and accuracy in front of goal was outstanding, kicking five goals from five shots before the New Zealand Hawks could register a score.
The New Zealand Hawks started poorly, fumbling much of their early ball and succumbing to the pressure exerted by PNG’s pace. However, sustained periods of gritty fight showed the New Zealand Hawks did not consider themselves out of the game until the very end, with most of the middle of the match an arm wrestle between two closely matched teams.
The beginnings of a counter attack took place in the 2nd quarter, with goals coming to Levi Inglis and Chris Mundell. However, at half time the lead still loomed over New Zealand, with PNG ahead 6.0:36 – 2.2:14.
A hallmark of the match was the fast start to each quarter from PNG. The third was no different, with a quick goal.
A reply came from the boot of Levi Inglis, after Te Kopa Tipene Thomas set him up with an outstanding contested mark. New Zealand continued to attempt to push their way back, moving the ball cleanly for a period before Sam McKenzie spotted and unmarked Tim Morton, who put through a goal to cut the lead to 19 points.
Unfortunately, that was as close as the New Zealand Hawks came to pulling back the deficit. Amua Pirika showed amazing pace to run in a goal, which was then followed by three more over the period.
The win for PNG was set up by outstanding performances from a number of players, including Gideon Simon, John James, Theo Gavuri and John Ikupu. As a unit PNG were athletic, skilled, and played at a breathtaking pace.
By contrast, the New Zealand Hawks were gritty, but unable to take control of the match. Andrew Howison and Ben Miller played magnificently in a losing cause, forcefully moving the ball forward.
However, PNG simply played at a higher level, showing the world why they should never be counted out, even after their loss to South Africa.
The result means New Zealand will play South Africa on Friday, with PNG taking on Ireland in the final at the MCG, after a close struggle that was taken out by the Irish with a late surge.
PNG: Pirika 3, Ikupu 2, Soong , Siwee, Simon, Beno, Aisi, Gavuri, Yogomin
New Zealand: Inglis 2, Morton , Mundell
Best and Fairest:
PNG: Ikupu, James Lavai, Peni, Simon, Namete, Gavuri
New Zealand: Howison, T Smith, Miller, McKenzie, Inglis, Baker-Thomas