Full Time
3:00pm Sun October 29, 2023
Pacific Championship - Pacific Bowl - Santos National Football Stadium, Port Moresby / PNG

Match Overview

Fiji have shown the Pacific Bowl that they mean business by thrashing PNG 43-16 in Port Moresby this afternoon.

It was a horrible start for Fiji with Kurt Donoghoe losing possession in the face of some strong Papua New Guinean defence. From the ensuing scrum. The Kumuls shifted the ball out to the left hand side where Lachlan Lam combined with Alex Johnston who beat the cover defence to slam the football down for the opening try of the contest. Rhyse Martin was unable to convert and it was an early 4-0 lead.

Nine minutes later, a clever grubber kick from Jahream Bula saw Nene Macdonald and Maika Sivo miss the loose ball. The ball waited for an eternity in the in-goal area before Donoghoe won the race to the ball first beating Johnston to it. Brandon Wakeham from right to left nailed it from touch and Fiji took a slender 6-4 lead. Off the back of some poor discipline from the home side. Penioni Tagituimua controlled the ruck superbly and found Tui Kamikamica who crashed over the top of several PNG defenders to score. Wakeham converted for a 12-4 lead.

With PNG rushing their game. Mistakes were piling up, Keven Appo got his tackle wrong on King Vuniyayawa and was sin-binned by referee Chris Butler. As a result of the lack of numbers, Fiji began to move the ball out wide and this allowed Donoghoe collected his second try, capitalising on the 1 man advantage. The slick ball movement out to the left hand side saw Waqa Blake burst through a gap before linking up with the Dolphin to score for the Bati. Wakeham added a field goal on the stroke of half-time to give the Bati a commanding 19-4 lead at the break.

After the break, the script followed the same song sheet. Fiji created space down the left hand side and Maika Sivo charged down the sideline. He charged over the top of Macdonald to crash across in the corner for the Bati. A few minutes later, Kyle Laybutt went too deep into the line after a strong hit by Blake. Sivo scooped it up and ran the best part of 95 metres to cross for his second in as many minutes.

Off another penalty against PNG. Crisp service from Noah Nailagoliva allowed young Manly prodigy Caleb Navale to crash over against some poor middle PNG defence and it was become a rout rather quickly on home turf. Wakeham converted for a 31 point lead. Fiji showcasing that last week's unusual sloppy football was a case

After some rare PNG possession. The Kumuls got some rare reward just past the hour mark. A crash ball from Alex Johnston found Benji Kott who ran a damaging line through the Bati defence for their second try of the afternoon. Martin converted to reduce the gap but it was only a temporary reduction.

Jason Qareqare added to the high score-line and crashed over showcasing his raw pace to burn the Kumuls defence to bring up the 40 point mark. Wakeham added a penalty goal to extend the margin out to 33 points. Inside the final 10, A clever grubber from Judah Rimbu found the front rower Epel Kapinias who won the race to the loose ball to score for the Kumuls.

That would be all she wrote from Port Moresby as Fiji convincingly dominated their opposition ahead of next week's final where both sides will go at it again.

3. Kurt Donoghoe

2. Penioni Tagituimua

1. Maika Sivo