By STEVE MASCORD
PORT MORESBY – Australian coach Bob Fulton praised his players for not retaliating to Papua New Guinea’s spiteful tactics as the tourists romped to a 40-6 victory in the second rugby league Test yesterday.
Australia extended its lead on the World Cup table with a nine-try victory at a windswept Lloyd Robson Oval with winger Willie Carrie almost certainly becoming the first player to score successive Test hat-tricks.
But the Kumuls’ second half tactics – late tackles, high tackles and punches – threatened to turn the game into a brawl.
“It was a very professional display once again,” Fulton said.
“I think send-offs were maybe justified in some instances but referee Dennis Hale handled things the best he could, given the situation.
“It could be a problem for the Kumuls, particularly when they go overseas, if they think they can get away with what they did today.”
Prop Martin Bella, halfback Geoff Toovey, five-eighth Cliff Lyons and replacement winger Chris Johns were all victims of the Kumuls’ over vigorous tackling.
“When they got me, the touch judge just didn’t want to do anything,” Toovey said.
“It was just a tough, physical game. No-one was hurt, but maybe the touch judges could have got more involved.”
Australia led by only 12-6 for 23 minutes of the first half after PNG captain Stanley Haru scored a shock try from a line dropout.
The tourists had already bagged three touchdowns but Rod Wishart and Mal Meninga failed with their conversion attempts.
Wishart’s tenure as Australian goalkicker lasted precisely 43 minutes, during which he landed none from four.
“I’m used to kicking in windy conditions at Wollongong Showground but today was like a gale,” Wishart said.
Meninga, who then reclaimed the duty, could only manage two from five. Teenage lock Brad Fittler had his finest moments in green and gold, scouting near the ruck and causing havoc with his giant sidestep and strength.
But he too was a victim of the Kumuls’ aggression, clutching his eyes and calling for assistance in the 31st minute.
“Someone threw lime from the ground markings in my eyes,” he said. “It was not really that bad, but I was worried because I know how much the lime on the grounds back home burns you.”
Centre Andrew Ettingshausen, playing with two painkillers and heavy strapping on a broken hand, scored a try, played the full match and had the injury put in a splint immediately afterwards.
From ILLAWARRA MERCURY via AAP, October 14, 1991