Papua New Guinea fought back from 10-0 down to physically batter Great Britain in Port Moresby – as the Lions ended their tour without a single victory.
GB led 10-6 at the break through tries from Blake Austin and Josh Hodgson, although they didn’t have it all their own way as Edwin Ipape went over on the hooter as the Lions started to wilt in the heat.
The testing conditions in Port Moresby were causing Britain problems and they fell behind with Watson Boas scoring a great try at the start of the second half.
Justin Olam, Alex Johnston and Nixon Putt crossed for further tries as they out muscled the Lions – who were outplayed in every department for the second 40 minutes as they won 28-10.
The Lions were dealt a major injury blow in the first tackle of the game as skipper James Graham suffered a head knock while tackling Luke Page – he then failed a head test and was unable to return.
Austin, who many felt should have not been selected on the wing, grabbed his first try for the Lions after 14 minutes following good work from Jake Connor. Gareth Widdop failed to convert as GB led 4-0.
Great Britain extended their advantage in the 22nd minute when hooker Hodgson forced his way over from close range after Thompson had set the platform with a barnstorming run – Widdop’s conversion made it 10-0.
PNG refused to lie down and they continued to take the game to the Lions and managed to force a repeat set after Jackson Hastings forced Kyle Laybutt’s kick dead.
They then thought they had scored in the corner but winger Edene Gebbie was adjuged to have grounded the ball on the touchline and therefore denied – although it looked like he may have dropped it as well.
They did get on the scoresheet in the dying seconds of the first half with Edwin Ipape taking advantage of tired Lions defence and he raced 60 metres from the play-the-ball to put the Kumuls back in contention. Laybutt’s conversion made it 10-6 at half-time.
The first try of the second half would be crucial and it went to the Kumuls as Boas chased down Gebbie’s kick to touch down. Rhyse Martin converted to put the home side 12-10 in front.
PNG extended their lead four minutes later when Laybutt’s kick was deflected on its way through for Olam to touch down. Martin added the extras for an 18-10 lead.
The Lions were having trouble getting their hands on the ball and the Kumuls continued to punish them as they crossed for their third try of the second half with Johnston going over in the corner as they led 22-10.
Great Britain’s second half showing was summed up in the 66th minute when Jonny Lomax spilled Laybutt’s towering bomb and Putt was hand to score. Martin converted as this game was well and truly over at 28-10.
Great Britain were literally blown away by the Kumuls in the second period as they looked weak in defence and void of any attacking ideas.