Blackhawks reign over Cutters in NQ derby

The Townsville Blackhawks kicked off their 2018 Intrust Super Cup campaign in dominant fashion, downing the QCCS Mackay Cutters 56-12 at BB Print Stadium in Mackay last night.

Unfazed by the difficult weather conditions the Blackhawks ran riot against the hosts in a scintillating display of speed and second-phase play the Cutters simply couldn’t contain.

However, Mackay got off to a dream start against their North Queensland rivals, with skipper Jack Joass latching onto a sublime flick pass and slipping through a hole in the Townsville defence to post the first try of the year for his club just minutes into the game.

The Blackhawks soon responded as Michael Carroll took advantage of Mackay’s poor ball security to level the scores, before the visitors showed off their long-range ability when a neat flick pass found Jonathon Reuben who scorched his way down Mackay’s right flank and sprinted 80m to put the Blackhawks into the lead.

Five-eighth Jaelen Feeny then powered his way over to score as the hosts began to slip off their tackles, and the problem got worse for the home team when Kalifa Faifai-Loa sent Carroll away for his second try of the night down the Cutters’ left edge.

Feeny was involved again in the shadows of halftime; his pinpoint grubber kick finding the hands of Carlin Anderson who dotted down under the posts for Townsville’s fifth unanswered try of the night which saw the visitors head to the sheds leading 30-6.

Former Hull KR halfback Zach Dockar-Clay ensured the Blackhawks picked up right where they left off in the second half, slipping under the Cutters goal line defence to add his name to the scoresheet after the hosts were pinged in their own red zone for a play-the-ball infringement.

Blake Atherton finally gave the home crowd something to cheer about when he crossed out wide for the Cutters, but Townsville swiftly returned the favour, with Krys Freeman and Carlin Anderson finding their way to the try line.

Reuben then brought up the 50th point of the match for the visitors with his second try.

The Blackhawks added one final insult to the Cutters’ pride, with Faifai-Loa running in their 10th and final try of the night right as the fulltime siren sounded, hot-potato passing and great support play catching the fatigued Mackay defence out on the 60m-play.

“The stats don’t lie, we completed at 50%,” Mackay coach Steve Sheppard said post-match.

“Townsville are a good team with a lot of experience and there’s a reason they are where they are, but our effort towards the end of the game wasn’t up to the standard we expect from ourselves.

“I told the boys to just put a line through it and focus on next week. It’s disappointing, but there’s a long way to go.”

See the final team line-ups and full scoring details at QRL Live

TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 56 (Michael Carroll 2, Jonathon Reuben 2, Carlin Anderson 2, Jaelen Feeney, Zach Dockar-Clay, Krys Freeman, Kalifa Faifai-Loa tries; Carlin Anderson 8 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 12 (Jack Joass, Blake Atherton tries; Nicholas Hynes 2 goals) at BB Print Stadium, Mackay.