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Falcons outclass finals contenders Blackhawks

The Sunshine Coast showed their class against the Townsville Blackhawks in an at times heated clash to claim a 40-18 win.

However, the score didn’t reflect the effort of the Blackhawks who were actually on the score board first, after a quick shift to the left landed the ball in the arms of Jake Marketo who straightened up and high stepped his way through the Falcons defence to score. Shaun Nona slotted the conversion to take the score to 6 nil after just five minutes.

The home side’s first attacking set ended without success in the right-hand corner as a flashing Jon Reuben ran out of room and the Blackhawks eliminated his chances of passing the ball back inside to his team mates.

The Falcons faithful held their collective breath in the 10th minute as the Blackhawks looked to have crossed the line for their second try.

However, the video referee overturned the on-field decision after the replay showed Blackhawks debutant Daejarn Asi had knocked on in the scramble to ground the football.

The Falcons received a piggy back downfield in their next attacking set and made the most of broken play following a late hit on hooker Harry Grant by Marketo, which was subsequently put on report.

The home side kept the ball alive with some quick passes on the right-hand side of the field and the ever-present Reuben was on the spot to score the Falcons first points.

Grant showed no ill effects, getting out early and skipping across field in the next set before delivering the ball on platter to a hard-running Chris Lewis who made like a halfback with a clever grubber that sat up nicely for Reuben to score his second in as many minutes.

Murphy was successful with this conversion attempt, putting the Falcons in the lead 10-6 after 16 minutes.

Following a penalty for a late hit on Cooper Johns, the Falcons elected to take the two and Murphy wasted no time extending the home side’s lead to 12-6.

Lewis appeared to be everywhere in Round 21, showing up again minutes later to break through the line before turning the ball back on the inside to Murphy who scored and converted the Falcons third try to take the score to 16-6 after 30 minutes.

In the 34th minute, Grant shot out of dummy half, beating several defenders before delivering the ball to a barging Lachie Roe who forced his way over the line and managed to twist his body to ground the ball under the weight of multiple Blackhawks.

Murphy’s conversion attempt was successful, and the score was 24-6.

The Blackhawks were the next to score after they refused to give up following a number of rebounded kicks on the final play of their set.

It was fullback Nathan Traill who eventually placed the ball down for the Blackhawks, with Nona slotting a tough kick from the sideline to send his team to the break trailing 24-12.

The second half began with three consecutive penalties to the Blackhawks and the visitors made the most of the opportunity by being the first side to score in the second half.

A cross-field kick from Nona resulted in a miscalculated jump for the ball between Reuben and Blackhawks centre Murry Taulagi, but it was winger Asi who scooped up the resulting loose ball and placed it down on the line, making no mistake this time.

Nona again slotted the conversion from the sideline to cut the Falcon’s lead down to just six points 24-18, seven minutes into the second half.

The Falcons were quick to reply with points of their own, as a sneaky Grant bamboozled the defence before diving over from dummy half to score. Murphy was successful with the kick taking the score to 30-18.

There was a huge injury concern for the Falcons a few minutes later as a flying Reuben made a break down the side line only to pull up clasping the back of his thigh. The prolific try scorer was helped from the field with a suspected hamstring injury.

Grant was soon back to his old tricks, scooting out of dummy half and handing the ball off to back rower Louis Geraghty who beat several defenders on his way to the line.

Sandor Earl had up until this point had an unhappy game, but he made an excellent break which ended with Grant going over at the opposite end of the field to score the final try of the match.

Murphy slotted the conversion and the Falcons claimed a convincing win.

The only man to outperform Grant during the game was second rower Lewis who received the Hastings Deering Man of the Match award. Lewis was exceptional in both attack and defence and versatile enough to finish up the game out in the centres following the injury to Reuben.

The home side will take confidence from the Round 21 win over the Blackhawks, but will no doubt be working hard through the week leading in to their next match against the third placed Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park next weekend. 

Townsville will face another tough clash and will next weekend host a blockbuster against Wynnum Manly.

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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