Contributed by: Troy Thompson
The last time these two met was in the IC14 Grand Final. In that match the Irish Warriors kicked 6.6, and today they did that again. This time however there was no late charge from PNG to overcome them. In fact PNG’s added just one point in the final term to see their 2 point lead at three quarter time become an eleven point deficit at the final siren with a score of 4.7.
In cold conditions the Warriors kicked with the breeze in the first quarter. The match was played at high intensity right from the start. An arm wrestle as you would expect from the top two ranked nations in the tournament. There was a light drizzle and this would continue on and off through the game. When the rain did get heavier in the second half though the breeze did seem to decrease.
Padraig Lucey was immediately looking dangerous up forward marking and goalling from the pocket. There were lots of turnovers as both teams tried to move the ball quickly. Declan Nannery could have kicked Ireland’s second after he was interfered with in the marking contest 25m out but missed the shot. Patrick Brennan did kick Ireland’s second though when he marked a rushed clearance kick and converted. Lucey added his second after Mick Finn hit him with a nice pass out of the middle. A 19 point lead to Ireland at quarter time.
In the second quarter it was Goroga who marked from a fast break out of the middle and kicked PNG’s first goal. Padraig Lucey’s size again proved vital to Ireland as he was able to take the contested mark and kick a long goal into the breeze. Siwi for PNG got on the end of a scintillating series of running handballs and taps down the ground but at breakneck pace his dribbled kick hit the padding on the goal post. Shortly after he made up for it though, marking in the goal square and kicking it from 15m out. PNG’s King missed a set shot late in the quarter and Goroga looked to set the team on fire when at speed he roved the pack and kicked PNG’s third goal. At half time it was a four point lead to Ireland.
The third quarter was not a memorable one. Just the one goal to Matthew King for PNG early in the quarter. John James and David Topeni were working tirelessly in the PNG backline. And PNG managed to shut down Lucey and spoil him at every opportunity. John Ikupu and Mick Finn paired up around the ground and squaring off in both ruck and marking contests was perhaps the highlight for me. Ireland had their chances to push ahead but could only manage three behinds.
It seemed inevitable that the Mozzies would run over the top in the last quarter with the breeze though it had dropped significantly. It was an arm wrestle. But the Mozzies run was not to come. Robert McElhone soccered a spilled ball that came to the back of the pack from 15m out to take the lead back. Muiris Bartley’s kick for goal from a free was off hands as the Warriors edged away and the rain was making things quite slippery favouring defence of the lead. The hero of the match with the sealer was Ronan Cull, coming off the back line he had pushed forward and took a big leg swing to soccer the ball from about 30m out from goal. There was still time for PNG to kick two goals but a combination of and injury to Ireland’s Murray and the wet ball being able to be locked up meant there was no further score.
PNG now look to be out of contention for the final, with the two sides of Division 1 with the best record going through to the Grand Final. But let’s not write them off just yet. Next up they need to beat Nauru in Ballarat to try and get things back on track. Ireland will play France on Wednesday also in Ballarat which on paper should be a certain win for them.
|PNG||0.0 (0)||3.3 (21)||4.6 (30)||4.7 (31)|
|Ireland||3.1 (19)||4.1 (25)||4.4 (28)||6.6 (42)|
Goal Kickers: P. Lucey 3, P. Brennan, D. Mcelhone, R. Cull
Best Players: D. Mcelhone, P. O''Halloran, G. Walls, S. O''Sullivan, P. Lucey, M. Finn
Papua New Guinea
Goal Kickers: T. Goroga 2, M. King, K. Paulias Siwee
Best Players: J. Ikupu, S. Agita, W. Aisi, M. Lavai, G. Simon, J. Peni
World Footy News