A powerful second-half performance from the Townsville Blackhawks saw them overcome a halftime deficit to defeat the Wynnum Manly Seagulls and record their sixth straight win.
Trailing 16-6 at the break, the Blackhawks ran in four second half tries to take the game away for the Seagulls who impressed early, but were unable to score in the second half to go down 26-16 to the in-form Townsville side.
Despite being named to start for the side on Team List Tuesday earlier in the week, there was no Francis Molo for the Blackhawks who made his long-awaited debut for the Cowboys and featured in their one-point loss to the Rabbitohs.
The Blackhawks came into Sunday’s clash as the competition’s form side with five consecutive wins and they looked to continue their momentum through second rower Temone Power who was the beneficiary of a lovely offload from five-eighth Jaelen Feeney to open the scoring in the sixth minute.
Wynnum were swift to respond through ever-reliable wingman Daniel Ogden who dived over in the corner and the sideline conversion from Shaun Nona would lock scores up at 6-all.
The Seagulls haven’t lived up to their own expectations in 2018, but they appeared determined to prove they are still finals contenders as they crossed through powerhouse prop Junior Pita in the 23rd minute who produced a rampaging run to cross next to the uprights to extend Wynnum’s lead.
Townsville looked shell-shocked as ill-discipline cruelled the home side and Wynnum looked to take full advantage as young centre Edward Burns capitalised on a Blackhawks loose ball to cross in the 33rd minute and send the visitors into halftime with the lead.
The break appeared to be a blessing for the home side as they came out of the sheds intent on correcting their discipline and returning to the clinical football that has seen them climb the ladder in recent weeks.
Blackhawks centre Ty Carucci opened the second half scoring when he ran a lovely line to cross untouched out wide in the 43rd minute to close the gap to a converted try.
Mercurial playmaker Zach Clay closed the gap to just two points when he picked up a loose ball and scooted away to score out wide and set up an enthralling final half-hour of play.
Both sides produced steely defence to repel a number of goal-line attacks before Kalifa Faifai-Loa showed a clean pair of heels to set Jack Manski alight as he dashed 80m to put the home side back in front with 11 minutes remaining.
Krys Freeman ensured the Blackhawks would make it six on the trot as the fiery rake capped off yet another tireless performance when he produced a crafty dart from dummy half to cross in the 79th minute.
Townsville will look to continue their stellar run of form when they travel to National Oil Search Stadium to take on the Hunters this Sunday at 3pm.
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 26 (Temone Power, Ty Carucci, Zach Dockar-Clay, Kalifa Faifai-Loa, Krys Freeman tries; Levi Dodd 3 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 16 (Daniel Ogden, Junior Pita, Edward Burns tries; Shaun Nona 2 goals) at Jack Manski Oval.