The Falcons started with a flourish at Sunshine Coast Stadium against the Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks yesterday, with some slick left side attacking plays seemingly taking the visitors by surprise early.
The home side took on the Blackhawks defence out wide and were rewarded with the first try of the match after just six minutes.
However, it didn’t take the visiting team long to respond with Glenn Hall starting off a special play that also involved Kyle Laybutt and Noel Underwood before Jahrome Hughes placed the ball down to even the scores at 6-6.
Hughes was not content just to score tries though, he defused every kick sent his way and made some spectacular defensive efforts throughout the match.
The fullback stopped not one, but two of the Falcons attempted 40/20s, showing impressive agility to tip-toe down the sideline and knock the ball back infield.
The Falcons continued to show some flair and structure in attack and were the next team to score with Sam Young crossing in the opposite corner taking the score to 10- 6 after 24 minutes.
At half time, the Round 7 clash looked set to be a genuine arm wrestle as both teams showed signs of the class required to take the win.
However, it was not to be the Falcons day as Townsville returned to the field looking like a team possessed with XXXX man of the match Jahrome Hughes scoring within the first minute of the second stanza.
The Blackhawks dominated possession in the second half as the Falcons first half composure slipped and their near-perfect completion rate was shattered.
Just five minutes after the first try of the second half, the visitors were in again as Laybutt delivered a cracking ball to put a hard running Underwood over the line.
The back rower was a standout for the Blackhawks, looking dangerous in attack and putting several Falcons on their backs with some heavy hitting defence.
After a huge 55 minutes, starting hooker Anthony Mitchell took his place on the bench for a well-earned rest; but the Falcons were unable to relax as Mitchell’s replacement Nathan Norford made an immediate impact with a short-side play that put Jonathon Reuben over in the corner to take the score to 22-10.
The Blackhawks relied on some outstanding defence to keep their opponents scoreless in the second half and despite being denied a try in the 67th minute due to an obstruction call, the team went on to score three further times before the full time whistle.
Norford had a hand in creating an opportunity for Rhyse Martin to score as well as forcing his way over from dummy half for a try of his own.
Martin collected his brace just minutes later, running a great line off a Michael Parker-Walshe short ball to take the final score to 40-10.
Parker-Walshe had a great second 40 minutes despite being laid out twice following kicks in the first half of the match and his halves partner Laybutt also produced one of his best games controlling the play well and standing up in defence.
Coach Kristian Woolf was quick to praise his halves pairing.
“I thought our halves controlled the 2nd half really well,” he said.
“I was really happy with our resolve during the game, and that allowed us to have a very dominant second half.
“While we put pressure on ourselves in the first half, and the Falcons played a near faultless half, we fought hard and were willing to stay in the game.”
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 40 (Jahrome Hughes 2, Rhyse Martin 2, Noel Underwood, Jonathon Reuben, Nathan Norford tries; Corey Jensen 4, Kyle Laybutt 2 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 10 (Rowan Klein, Samuel Young tries; Joe Stimson goal) at Sunshine Coast Stadium.