It was a slightly chilly Hawaiian fiesta at Jack Manski Oval yesterday afternoon after a cool change hit Townsville prior to the Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks taking on the Norths Devils in Round 13 of the Intrust Super Cup.
The club hosted a Hawaiian Beach Party for their scheduled televised match which saw some entertaining hula hoop action at half time and plenty of tropical shirts in the crowd.
It was a big day of rugby league action, with proceedings kicking off with the Paul Bowman Shield involving Under 12s teams from Northern Queensland and Peninsula.
In the main game, the Blackhawks got off to a flying start scoring three times within the first 17 minutes to take an early 16-0 lead over the Devils.
It was a vintage Matty Bowen kicking game that lead to the first three tries, one of which hit the posts and bounced fortuitously into the hands of Brenden Santi, who had a big game after finding his way into the starting line up at lock.
Another Bowen kick was collected by a leaping Jonathan Reuben who kept himself on top of the Top Try Scorer’s Table scoring first of the match and now sitting on 15 tries from 13 rounds in 2016.
Norths hit back just prior to halftime through Billy Brittain to head to the break at 16-6.
Man of the Match Bowen continued to have a heavy influence on the match, putting his name in the scoring sheet with his first Blackhawks try five minutes into the second stanza and directing his players masterfully around the park throughout the game.
The Blackhawks scored two more tries via Lorenzo Maafu and Corey Jensen while the Devils also crossed once more to take the final score to 32-12.
Young emerging forwards Andrew Niemoeller and Lona Kaifoto were impressive alongside counterparts Maafu, Jensen and Santi.
With no choice but to take on extra responsibility with the likes of Daniel Beasley, Sam Hoare, Noel Underwood and Willie Minoga out with injury and Neville Costigan retiring; Kaifoto started in the back row and Niemoeller came off the bench.
Both impressed with solid defensive efforts and aggressive runs, which did their chances of reselection no harm for next round.
The Blackhawks remain at the top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder, one win ahead of Burleigh and two wins ahead of Redcliffe with a healthy points differential of 223.
“It was a good tough hit out with Norths providing some real challenge through their big men in Molo and Smith, and some crafty play from the likes of Brittain and Berrell,” Blackhawks coach Kristian Woolf said.
“I thought we played some really good footy for long periods but were a bit guilty of dropping our intensity for periods after we got on top of the opposition.
“Matty Bowen was excellent for us and again showed he has lost nothing in terms of his skills and vision.”
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 32 (Jonathon Reuben, Brenden Santi, Anthony Mitchell, Matt Bowen, Lorenzo Ma’afu, Corey Jensen tries; Corey Jensen 2, Matt Bowen 2 goals) def NORTHS DEVILS 12 (Billy Brittain, David Faamita tries; Todd Murphy 2 goals) at Jack Manski Oval.