In a high quality game of football, the Blackhawks produced one of their best performances of season 2016 to edge out the PNG Hunters for an important 24-20 win in Round 23.
It took just eight minutes for the Hunters to make their intentions clear with a try to Adex Wera in the corner.
The heavy-hitting Hunters were equally brutal in their defence as they held up several certain tries from the Blackhawks during the first half.
Despite conceding the early try, and being held up over the line repeatedly, Townsville never panicked.
In the 20th minute, Delouise Hoeter produced a mammoth effort to throw the ball back infield whilst being driven over the sideline by three Hunters. Kyle Laybutt collected the ball to score the first try for the home side.
Laybutt collected his brace just prior to the 35-minute mark after a big tackle from Hezron Murgha forced a PNG mistake 20m from their goal line.
After an intense opening 40 minutes, the score was 10-4 to the Blackhawks at the break.
The PNG side began the second half as they did the first with a quick try, this time from Thompson Teteh in the 41st minute to take the score to 10-8.
What came next was an intense tug of war as both teams fought for ascendency.
The Blackhawks extended their lead to 18-8 following a successful penalty kick and a try to Andrew Niemoeller with just over 20 minutes to play.
But the Hunters were far from finished and were next to score through Edward Goma to narrow the lead to just four points.
Townsville’s final points of the match came after a Laybutt break led to an impressive team effort that resulted in a fired up Hoeter diving over in the corner.
The home side’s celebrations were short-lived as the Hunters hit back with just two minutes to play to take the score to 24-20.
It was the third grandstand finish in as many weeks for the Blackhawks and true to form, they held their nerve until the final whistle.
The win continued a run of impressive form for the side who are now looking forward to a bye in Round 24.
“It was a terrific effort in what I thought was a very high quality game….and against a tough opposition,” coach Kristian Woolf said.
“I was very proud of the way our blokes hung in through some very tough periods of the game.”
“It was certainly an effort we will draw on going forward in this competition.”
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 24 (Kyle Laybutt 2, Andrew Niemoeller, Delouise Hoeter tries; Kyle Laybutt 3, Hezron Murgha goals) def PNG HUNTERS 20 (Adex Wera, Thompson Teteh, Edward Goma, Justin Olam tries; Ase Boas 2 goals) at Jack Manski Oval.