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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

PNG break 16-year Test win drought

Captain David Mead has led Papua New Guinea to their first rugby league Test win on foreign soil in 16 years, upsetting Fiji 24-22 in Parramatta. In a thrilling opening to the international double-header on Saturday night, Mead saved two certain tries in the first half, including a 60-metre chase to deny Canterbury flyer Tyrone Phillips. The Gold Coast winger wasn't the only player to star for PNG, with halfback Watson Boas crossing twice and brother Ase kicking three goals. Mead's Titans teammate Nene Macdonald - the only two players in the line-up with NRL experience - appeared to have sealed the win when he extended the lead to eight late in the contest. However, Fijian winger Etuate Qionimacawa brought them within striking distance when he completed his hat-trick on debut in the 76th minute. A pulsating end-to-end finish ensued, but the Kumuls held on against a Fiji side boasting seven NRL players, giving them their first victory on foreign soil since a World Cup triumph against Tonga in 2000. "It just shows the development of the game in Papua New Guinea with the PNG Hunters boys. The majority of the squad is picked from that team in the Queensland Cup," Mead told AAP. "Those boys showed a lot of professionalism during the week, which we've lacked a bit in the past. It's a huge credit to PNG rugby league and the way they've moved forward." Mead labelled the win one of the proudest moments of his career. "To win an international game with PNG, away from home ... it feels awesome," he said. The breakthrough also came despite losing winger Justin Olam for 10 minutes in the sin bin after the PNG Hunters representative committed a professional foul in the first half. PNG were down 12-8 when Olam intercepted a pass from an offside position, paving the way for the Fiji Bati to take a 16-8 halftime lead through Qionimacawa.  Source: AAP

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Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 4:13 PM. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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