Blackhawks win tight match v Phins
Round 1 proved to be as tough a battle as coach Kristian Woolf expected with the home side pushed all the way by the Dolphins on their way to claiming an 18-16 win.
Redcliffe lead the way for much of the match in a hard fought battle played in oppressive conditions following some heavy rain overnight in Townsville.
However, it was the home side who scored the first points with a flying Samsen O’Neill crossing the line for the first of his two tries in the sixth minute.
The visitors hit back midway through the half via Zach Strasser to take the lead 6- 4.
The Dolphins halves pairing Strasser and Darren Nicholls were impressive throughout the match with Strasser scoring twice and both players steering their side around the paddock with intent.
With eight players making their first appearances for the club, the Blackhawks battled hard up the middle to get back on the scoreboard with special performances coming from both the young debutants and the old hands.
The hard work from the engine room lead to O’Neill scoring his second just before half time to take the lead briefly, before Strasser brought up his own double to send the Dolphins to the break with a 12-8 lead.
The home side hit the field with renewed vigour in the second half which saw an elusive Jahrome Hughes cross the line just a minute into the half levelling scores at 12-12.
Hughes was hit with some heavy defence at the back throughout the match, but his kick-return was exceptional and led to more than one line break for the Blackhawks.
Scores remained deadlocked for much of the intense second half until the pressure of the consecutive sets finally broke the Dolphins and a hard running Sam Hoare stormed over the line to score under the posts after a spectacular Nathan Norford pass.
The Dolphins hit back with four minutes remaining in the match, but were unable to convert leaving the final score at 18-16.
It was far from a clinical performance, but the positive result came from the Blackhawks typical willingness to play until the final whistle.
Coach Woolf was impressed with the team's ability to dig deep.
“While it wasn't our prettiest win, it was certainly one of our grittiest and typified what we are about as a club,” he said.
"Redcliffe are a very good and experienced football side and with the number of young and less experienced players on the field, we will certainly both learn and improve a lot from that performance.”
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TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 18 (Samsen O’Neill 2, Jahrome Hughes, Sam Hoare tries; Sam Foster goal) def REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 16 (Zach Strasser 2, Jonas Pearson tries; Darren Nicholls 2 goals) at Jack Manski Oval, Kirwan.
Read all the Round 1 match reports:
New Jets help secure Round 1 win
Kim’s Capras spoil Mackay’s party
Bears roar in second half blitz
Second-half comeback secures win for Tweed
Falcons celebrate closest of wins
PNG open account v Magpies