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Northern derby with extra spice as Blackhawks face Cutters

This Saturday, the first match up in week two of the Hastings Deering Colts finals series heads north with the Townsville Blackhawks playing host the Mackay Cutters at Jack Manski Oval in a do-or-die final.

This weekend’s victor will be aiming to earn a spot in the preliminary final clash the in week three of the finals series.

Mackay come into this weekend after a superb 23-10 victory over the Tweed Seagulls away from home, while the Blackhawks were stunned by the Sunshine Coast side 24-4.

Cutters coach Michael Comerford said his team were looking to build on their impressive performance last week going into this knockout final’s game.

“The boys really enjoyed their first weekend of finals football, there was a major rising of intensity from both sides last weekend and we were very pleased to come away with a great win,” Comerford said.

The Cutters went into the first half with a tight 12-4 advantage over Tweed, before an inspired second half kicking performance from Tom Irelandes took the game away and booked the Cutters place in the second week of final’s footy.

What a weapon!' - Tom Irelandes

It was a similar story for the Blackhawks and the Falcons, with scores locked 4-4 at halftime, however the Blackhawks struggled to contain a flying second half performance by the Falcons who booked their place in the semi-finals the following weekend.

Blackhawks coach David Elliott said his side’s intensity was not a concern as they looked towards this weekend’s game.

“We always knew last weekend was going to be tough, they (Sunshine Coast) brought their best side, with this style of competition if you are even slightly off in your intensity you can be on the backfoot immediately,” Elliott said.

The Blackhawks have the edge over the Cutters in both regular season games this calendar year, something Mackay coach Michael Comerford said would not deter his side from going into the game with a winning mindset.

“We are aware we will have to go up another level this weekend,” Comerford said.

“Every team you play and every game you play at this stage of the season is knockout football at the highest level, and we are definitely expecting the Blackhawks to lift their game for this match just as we will be too.”

Both sides have been credited for their strong and agile forward packs during the 2019 Hastings Deering Colts season, providing each side with momentum in the middle of the park and high possession statistics deep in the opposing teams halves during the season.

Townsville coach Elliott said his team were aware of the quality the Cutters possessed, and that only motivated them to work harder for the weekend.

“We have a really determined group of young players in the squad who are capable of great things,” Elliott said.

“Everyone of these boys play football to be in with a chance at this time of the year, to experience finals footy and the boys are absolutely looking forward to turning around their performance from last week and without a safety net, the pressure is on both sides to make the most of their limited chances in the game.”