The Townsville Blackhawks put in an impressive performance to post a 50-8 win over Tweed Heads at Piggabeen Sports Complex in Round 16.
After the great high of last weekend, the Seagulls were unable to back up their tremendous victory in Port Moresby, despite a solid start to the match which saw a 2-0 lead from a Lindon McGrady penalty.
Things started to unravel for the home side soon after, and the Seagulls lost winger James Toole to a knee injury, causing a shuffle that saw Titans player and middle forward Keegan Hipgrave, on debut, having to play most of the match at left centre.
However, it was crucial errors in possession that proved decisive with six Blackhawks tries coming from drop balls or failure to clean up when in possession.
Tries to new signing Jordan Drew and electric fullback Carlin Anderson had the Blackhawks in the lead 12-2; but the Gulls were threatening to pull the score back when they went on the attack inside Townsville’s quarter. Halfback Michael Burgess saw a chance on the left with numbers; but his pass was knocked down by a Blackhawks defender and the referee allowed play to continue and Jonathon Reuben was on his way, running 90m to score the first of his four tries for the afternoon.
Former Seagull Davin Crampton scored after a quick-hands raid to the right soon after and the Rueben added two more tries in the final four minutes of the half to take control of the contest with a 30-2 lead at the break.
To their credit, the Gulls muscled up in the second half and showed better discipline in attack and were the better side for the first 20 minutes of the second half.
The effort was rewarded with a try to Burgess after he followed a McGrady grubber in behind the goal posts and forced it just before it went dead, for 30-8.
It was the 61st minute before the Blackhawks scored again – from another 90m effort, again from Rueben and after that – the flood gates then opened, with Townsville running in three more tries in 17 minutes to bring up the half-century.
The Blackhawks speed and strike on the edges, particularly the left, is one of the best in the Intrust Super Cup and caused havoc at Piggabeen; while Reuben showed his skill in to bring his tally of tries scored so far this season to 23; nine points clear on the competition’s try-scoring lists of next player, his team-mate Carlin Anderson.
The Seagulls travel to Ipswich next weekend to face the Jets who also suffered a heavy loss, while Townsville are back at home and will host the Norths Devils.
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 50 (Jonathon Reuben 4, Jordan Drew 2, Carlin Anderson, Davin Crampton, Ty Carucci, Blake Leary tries; Carlin Anderson 5 goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 8 (Michael Burgess try; Lindon McGrady 2 goals) at Piggabeen Sports Complex.