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Test star confirmed starter for Blackhawks

The Townsville Blackhawks have confirmed that Australian and Queensland representative Justin O'Neill will play in Saturday's match against the Northern Pride in Atherton.

It will mark the first time O'Neill has played Intrust Super Cup since 2015 when he appeared with the Mackay Cutters.

As well as four Origins and two Tests, O'Neill has 152 NRL starts to his name.

Blackhawks coach Kristian Woolf told the Townsville Bulletin that he hoped to assist O'Neill rediscover "enjoyment" in his rugby league.

"Just speaking to him, I think he's ready to go and push his way back into first grade," Woolf said in the Townsville Bulletin.

"Our intention for him is he's here for a week, plays very well for us and we play our part in helping him find some enjoyment in his footy.

"The good thing about this level is there's not quite the same pressure, and he can find a bit of enjoyment and get him playing some really good footy.

"If we're saying 'thanks for this week' and he's going back to first grade we've done our job, and I think that's what we'll see.

"Justin trained with us (on Thursday) and you can see if we give him the footy, he's going to create something.

"He's a genuine local bloke too and comes back with an affiliation here (having played for Townsville Brothers), and a desire to do the right thing by us."

Centre Ty Carucci drops out of the Blackhawks squad as a result.

Both the Blackhawks and Pride are in top form, with the first-placed Blackhawks aiming for their fourth straight win and the Pride hoping for a fifth straight victory.

The Pride also promise to have a talent-laden squad which may include recent NRL players Ethan Lowe and Javid Bowen.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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