Toa Samoa recorded a gritty 24-6 success against Papua New Guinea Kumuls on a brisk night at Leichhardt Oval.
The game didn't reach any great heights but was played in a fantastic spirit with both Samoa and Papua New Guinea combined for an entertaining display of rugby league, as the Samoans ran in four tries to one in a tight contest.
For the Samoans, they started off with some swift feet from hooker Jarome Luai to get a debut try then Josh Aloiai burst through some weak defense to put the heavy favourites ahead 12-nil after 20 minutes.
PNG were willing, clawed back a try from debutant Terry Wapi snuck in from dummy-half. The Kumuls showed in flashes that they had the skills to challenge Samoa, but the execution let them down combined with some superb scrambling defense from the Samoan side.
The second half continued to sway between the midfield, as the two forward packs ripped into each other. Fittingly, Junior Paulo rampaged across to extend the Samoans lead to twelve points with time running out.
It was a Samoan debutant that closed out the contest with one of the stranger plays seen on a football field. Chanel Harris-Tavita tried to clinch the game with a field goal, saw his effort rebound off the post and the young Warrior was fastest to react to score the four-pointer, making it 24-6.
The result justified the switch from Martin Taupau from New Zealand to Samoa. The forward led from the front and with some controlled work from Broncos half Anthony Milford, the Samoan side has two experienced heads which will help steer their talented side around in the next cycle.