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Townsville bounce back against Redcliffe

The Townsville Blackhawks put the Redcliffe Dolphins to the sword, scoring 36 unanswered points in their convincing 36-6 victory at Jack Manski Oval.

Blackhawks coach Aaron Payne said after the game that he’d been critical of his team’s attack against Mackay last weekend and their effort tonight was a step in the right direction.

He paid tribute to both hooker Krys Freeman and centre Justin O’Neill who Payne thought was very close to an NRL recall with the Cowboys.

It was a very disconsolate Dolphins dressing room after the game after yet another display of poor handling.

It was a frantic start to the match with play going from end-to-end, but it was the home side who had the first opportunity to score on the back of a Kyle Laybutt 40/20.

However, the Dolphins scrambling defence was up to task, bundling Kalifa Faifai-Loa into touch as he looked set to score.

Up the other end of the field, the Dolphins could convert their first opportunity into points when Jordan Grant crossed for the opening try.

A late shot on Dolphins halfback Cory Paix gave the visitors good field position and they looked like they’d make the Blackhawks pay until a miracle Zac Santo tackle dislodged the ball from Izaia Perese’s hands over the try line.

From then on, the Dolphins handling helped them defeat themselves, as they kept inviting the Blackhawks back into the game.

First it was a try to Murray Taulagi from a simple backline play from a scrum on the back of a Dolphins error then O’Neill dived on a loose ball following a Laybutt kick just four minutes out from halftime.

At the break, Dolphins coach Adam Mogg told his side that if they could control the football, he was confident they could come away with the win after completing at 59% in the first half.

The message would have been similar from Payne in the Blackhawks shed after his side completed at 60% in the first half.

The message from the coaches seemed to get through, with both teams completing good first sets in the second half.

A clever offload from Jayden Stephens to the ever-present dangerman Freeman, who beat one defender and carried another one over the line, opened the scoring in the second half.

A further three tries to Cowboys Tom Opacic, Tom Gilbert and O’Neill as well two penalty goals and three conversions to Levi Dodd wrapped up a happy day for the Blackhawks.

The second half completion rates tell the story of the match – with the Blackhawks completing at 85% to the Dolphins 54%.

The visitors only had the ball for 35% of the half and didn’t get in the Blackhawks 20 metres until the 63rd minute.

With the change in personnel and the rise in standard of other teams when they face the defending premiers; the going is tough at the moment for the Dolphins who will be working hard to turn their fortunes around.

Next weekend, they will host the Tweed Seagulls in Sunday’s Channel 9 TV game; while the Blackhawks would be happy to be back playing to their usual high standard and will travel to Bishop Park on Saturday to take on the Devils.

* Jon Sloan is a Redcliffe Dolphins employee, but produces the match report as a Queensland Rugby League correspondent 

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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