Photo: Maria Girgenti
The Townsville & Districts Blackhawks did not set out to silence the critics in their preparation for Round 3 of Intrust Super Cup, but that is exactly what occurred at Barlow Park yesterday.
It was clear the team had a different mindset right from the initial whistle against the reigning premiers the Northern Pride with the first try coming in the second minute after a cut-out pass from Jahrome Hughes put winger Zac Santo over the line.
The Blackhawks were on a mission to build pressure and succeeded by not allowing their opposition any ball until the 12th minute. They also scored a further two tries in that time including Santo’s second and the first for Ray Thompson in only his second game in the black and green.
The fourth try of the match was a thrilling long-range effort that involved many hands to keep the ball alive after a sensational line break from halfback Michael Parker-Walshe catapulted the team downfield within range of the try line.
Deft hands from fullback Jahrome Hughes and Parker-Walshe led to centre Moses Pangai running around to score under the posts.
Goal kicking kept the score low with the first three conversions waved away and the Mendi Blackhawks were leading 18-0 after 26 minutes.
The Pride made it onto the scoreboard after a flying Luke George snatched a high ball to take the score to 18-4 in the 32nd minute.
However a shell-shocked Pride took no further spoils from the first half as the relentless Blackhawks went back on the attack.
The Blackhawks scored twice in the final eight minutes of the first half with fleet-footed Jonathon Reuben coming up with a try in his first game back from injury and a surging Chris McLean diving over from short range.
The Pride no doubt came out from the break with visions of last week’s Jets v Blackhawks match in their minds and hoping for a similar comeback.
It wasn’t to be as a disciplined Blackhawks returned with vigour and continued to play consistent football led by captain Dan Beasley, Neville Cositgan and Glenn Hall up the middle of the field.
Hughes made good use of field position as he crossed in the 50th minute, taking the score to 36-4. Hall was not to be upstaged and crossed for his own four-pointer minutes later taking the game well beyond doubt at 42-4.
Tom Humble made his shift to centre look easy, crossing the line for a try and nudging the score closer to the half century mark. That milestone was reached in the 67th minute after a Pride dropped ball lead to a Blackhawks scrum 20m out.
A short side shift on the second tackle and a clever pass from Humble put the ball into the hands of Reuben who sliced through the defence on his was to his second try for the match. A consolation try to the Pride’s Linc Port took the final score to 52-10.
“A week is a long time in football, we certainly won’t be getting ahead of ourselves," coach Kristian Woolf said.
"But I do think our players can take a lot of confidence from that game. We were disciplined, able to build pressure and didn’t give the Pride many chances. I thought we controlled the game well.”
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 52 (Zac Santo 2, Jonathan Reuben 2, Jahrome Hughes, Tom Humble, Mosese Pangai, Glenn Hall, Ray Thompson, Chris McLean tries; Robert Lui 5, Tom Humble goals) def NORTHERN PRIDE 10 (Linc Port, Luke George tries; Javid Bowen goal) at Barlow Park.
Northern Pride: 1. Linc Port 2. Semi Tadulala 3. Javid Bowen 4. Hezron Murgha 5. Luke George 6. Jordan Biondi-Odo 7. Sam Obst 8. Jack Svendsen 9. Jason Roos (c) 10. Patrick Kaufusi 11. Ben Spina 12. Graham Clark *13/21/19. Tom Hancock 14. Cameron King 15. Ryan Ghietti 16. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 17. Nathan Wales
* Tom Hancock jersey changes due to blood
Townsville Blackhawks: 1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Zac Santo 3. Tom Humble 4. Mosese Pangai 5. Jonathan Reuben 6. Robert Lui 7. Michael Parker-Walshe 8. Ricky Thorby 9. Anthony Mitchell 10. Daniel Beasley (c) 11. Glenn Hall 12. Rhyse Martin 13. Neville Costigan 14. Ray Thompson 15. Lorenzo Ma’afu 16. Chris McLean 17. Corey Jensen