The PNG Hunters have beaten Redcliffe 24-18 in their debut Queensland Cup rugby league match.

Rugby league’s Papua New Guinea Hunters have made a winning start to their first Queensland Cup campaign with a victory over Redcliffe Dolphins in Brisbane.

The Hunters, who are PNG’s first professional sporting franchise, defeated the second-tier competition heavyweights 24-18.

PNG coach Michael Marum admits he was surprised by his side’s performance and said the challenge was to maintain the standards displayed by the Hunters on Sunday.

“I didn’t expect the boys to stand up like that for the first game,” Marum said on the website.

“This is a good start to the competition and we will hope to build on that.”

The Hunters, who one day hope to play in the NRL, will enjoy the next three rounds of the competition at their home ground in Kokopo.

In 2014, the Queensland Cup winners will play the NSW Cup champions on NRL grand final day.