Off-season recruit Hezron Murgha wasted no time in his return to the football field, scoring two tries for the Blackhawks in their convincing 42-8 win over the Tweed Heads Seagulls yesterday.
The former Northern Pride fullback was a late inclusion in the side, replacing Johnathon Reuben at right wing, and it was his two quick tries in the first half that put the Blackhawks in control after the home team opened the scoring through Will Zillman.
The Gold Coast Titans co-captain played his first game back from injury and crossed the inside the opening three minutes, giving fans at Piggabeen slight hope for an Intrust Super Cup boilover as the Seagulls led 4-0.
But that was the high watermark for the Seagulls, who then conceded eight unanswered tries in a result that keeps the Blackhawks one win clear on top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder.
Delouise Hoeter got the Blackhawks’ first try of the afternoon, but it was Murgha’s quickfire double after 26 minutes that really put the Blackhawks on top after the visitors lead 14-4 at halftime. The floodgates opened in the second half when interchange forward and former Hunter Willie Minoga got his first points of the year soon after the break.
Tries from Jahrome Hughes, Moses Pangai, Nathan Norford and Michael Parker-Walshe followed, before Tweed Heads centre Leva Li scored a consolation four-pointer for the home side near full time.
The latest big win gives the Blackhawks a positive points differential of 108, which is 60 points ahead of the next best of 48 held by second-placed Burleigh.
“It’s a tough place to play and Tweed are a tough, gritty side, and their Titans players gave them a bit of class as well,” Blackhawks coach Kristian Woolf said.
“I thought they made us work really hard for our points, particularly in the first half, but it was another good performance and we were really good defensively.
“The really good positive for us is that our young blokes are really stepping up for us ... they’re shouldering a lot more responsibility at the moment than we — and they — expected at the start of the year.”
Young prop Corey Jensen received more praise from Woolf for another hard-running game, and the Bowen junior also kicked three of the Blackhawks’ five conversions.
Burdekin product Lona Kaifoto again started in the second row after making his Cup debut last week, while Murgha got his start after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.
Reuben was rested as a precaution after twinging his hamstring at training last week.
“It’s good that Hezron got a hitout and he brings a lot of ability and experience,” Woolf said.
“Johnno (Reuben) will be back next weekend, but where blokes will play I’m not sure yet.
“We’re really happy with our outside backs at the moment.”
Next week the Blackhawks travel to play PNG in Port Moresby while Tweed Heads will look to regroup before travelling north to play the Pride.
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 42 (Hezron Murgha 2, Delouise Hoeter, Willie Minoga, Jahrome Hughes, Moses Pangai, Nathan Norford, Michael Parker-Walshe tries; Corey Jensen 3, Kyle Laybutt 2 goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 8 (William Zillman, Leva Li tries) at Piggabeen Sports.
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