Photo: Alix Sweeney
Easter Saturday saw a bumper crowd at Jack Manski Oval for the Round 5 Intrust Super Cup clash between home team the Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks and the Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
Both teams were on six points leading into the round with only the Mendi Blackhawks' superior points differential separating them on the premiership ladder.
A tight clash was expected and the first half delivered with the two teams locked up at 12 all going into half time despite Wynnum having a lion's share of possession.
The Seagulls were keen to assert their dominance early and raced to an early lead, scoring twice in the first seven minutes. The Blackhawks saw very little ball during the first 20 minutes after a handling error forced a turnover in their first set.
Impressive line speed from the Seagulls and poor ball possession denied the Blackhawks field position and the visiting side looked to be well in control even as Tom Humble crossed for the local side's first points at the 20 minute mark.
With the score at 12-6 and minutes left in the first half, new recruit Noel Underwood strolled through a yawning gap in the Wynnum line from a Michael Parker-Walshe cut out pass to score in his maiden game for the new club, levelling the ledger and allowing the Blackhawks back into the contest.
The Blackhawks' intensity in defense was evident as captain Dan Beasley and interchange forward Lorenzo Maafu made repeated solid contact with their opponents during the opening of the second stanza.
The local crowd seemed to energize their team as they began to make easy metres and in the 56th minute, Parker-Walshe sliced through the defence to put the Mendi Blackhawks in front for the first time in the match.
Parker-Walshe's effort was quickly followed by another try to the Blackhawks, this time to Zac Santo in the Garden Bar corner after a handy offload from Underwood and equally as good flick pass from big centre Moses Pangai. Townsville were now leading 22-12 with 19 minutes left in the game.
Celebrations continued for the home side after Kyle Feldt burst strongly through the defence and shrugged off some high contact to score under the posts and converted his own try to take the score to 28-12.
Wynnum scored the final points with centre Grieve crossing in the dying stages to take the final score to 28-16.
Coach Kristian Woolf was pleased with his side's second half potency after a patchy effort prior to the break.
“It was good to be able to grind out a tough win against a strong opposition, albeit a bit of a scrappy game from both sides. I was equally happy with our ability to stay composed and play our way back into the contest after things didn't go our way early in the match."
“I was impressed with Noel Underwood's debut tonight. I think his game gave some insight into what he is going to be able to offer the team moving forward.”
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 28 (Zac Santo, Tom Humble, Kyle Feldt, Michael Parker-Walshe, Noel Underwood tries; Kyle Feldt 4 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 16 (Matthew Grieve 2, Daniel Ogden tries; Matthew Seamark 2 goals) at Jack Manski Oval, Kirwan.
Townsville Stingers: 1 Jahrome Hughes 2 Zac Santo 3 Tom Humble 4 Mosese Pangai 5 Kyle Feldt 6 Robert Lui 7 Michael Parker-Walshe 8 Ricky Thorby 9 Ray Thompson 10 Daniel Beasley 11 Kelepi Tanginoa (for Glenn Hall) 12 Rhyse Martin 13 Neville Costigan 14 Anthony Mitchell 15 Lorenzo Ma’afu 17 Corey Jensen 18 Noel Underwood
Wynnum Manly Seagulls: 1 Greg Eden 2 Peter Gubb 3 Matthew Grieve 4 Mitchell Buckett 5 Daniel Ogden 6 Patrick Templeman 7 Matthew Seamark 8 Ben Shea 9 Alehana Mara 10 Aaron Rockley 11 Brendon Gibb 12 Jon Grieve 13 Mitchell Frei 14 Mitchell Moore 15 John Te Reo 16 Tanu Wulf 17 Stephen Coombe