Last night Rhyse Martin kicked a record equalling goal to level matters for Papua New Guinea against Tonga.
Against one of the tournament favourites, PNG were hoping to show that they can compete with the likes of Tonga and they did just that as they battled back from 18-6 at halftime to level it at 18-all with Martin converting from the touchline to also equal the world record for consecutive goals without missing at 41.
However, their hearts were broken by a late Tonga try which saw Kristian Woolf’s side claim the spoils.
PNG skipper Martin felt though that the game showed that the side are right up there: “Definitely we’ve just shown that we’re up there. To not get the win comes down to a few little things in the second half but the way we hung in there, teams will have to get up when they play us because we’re going to be hard to beat.”
But what were these little things Martin mentioned? Well he was unhappy with some decisions that went against them: “The scrum decision before halftime where we could have taken the two points, I don’t know why the penalty went against us there.
“I think it was three disallowed tries as well. If we get those we have the lead and it’s a totally different ball game.”
Coach Stanley Tepend had similar thoughts and believed that one try in particular, the one for Rodrick Tai, should have been given: “I thought it was a try, I think most people watching would have given it as a try.”
Equally star fullback Alex Johnston echoed these thoughts as the Kumuls noted their frustration: “We crossed a couple of times and think we should have had the lead, so to lose on the bell it hurts.”