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Blackhawks duo confident in young squad

The Townsville Blackhawks are still reeling after a stellar back end to the 2019 season ended in a loss one game out from the Intrust Super Cup grand final. 

Experienced Blackhawks duo Kalifa Faifai Loa and Temone Power are both keen to go one better in 2020 and strongly believe the young squad - under the guidance of coach Aaron Payne - can do it.  

"We had a good start, but a disappointing finish," Faifai Loa said. 

The experienced winger, who has played for St George Illawarra Dragons, North Queensland Cowboys and Gold Coast Titans, said during trials, the team was concentrating on fine tuning their game plans for the season ahead. 

Kalifa Faifai Loa. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL
Kalifa Faifai Loa. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

"Pre-season has looked a bit brighter this year," Faifai Loa said.

"Compared to this time last year, everyone knows their role more. Not everyone loves pre-season, but some do. I actually don't mind it.

"Personal goals... as a left edge, we want to get more tries than our right and middles. We want to work on our defence and hopefully we can bring more energy to the team.

"And for the team, we want to try and make the top two at least and do better than last year when we made top four. That's our team goal."

Faifai-Loa said he was very happy at the Blackhawks and looked forward to watching on as team mates - including Power - pushed for an NRL berth. 

"Personally for me, I've been there," the 30-year-old said.

"There's players in our team that hopefully get picked up. But we don't want them to get picked up halfway through the season, because we need them. 

"We've got a young squad. Only three of us are over 30, so I reckon more than half of our team could possibly make it because more than three quarters are under 24. There's only seven guys over 25. A pretty young team. A small team. 

"We're relying on our young kids more this year. To step up."

Power, part of the XXX Queensland Residents team in 2019, said he truly hoped the Blackhawks "go further" this year. 

Temone Power. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL
Temone Power. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

"2019 was a good year. We got on a good roll at the end of the season there, but come up short in the last game," Power said. 

"(Pre-season has been) hot, sweaty and there's been a lot of running, getting ready for the season.  

"The squad is looking good. We've got a few new good players, so we're looking strong. See what we can do this year. 

"My personal goal would be to keep rolling on from last year. Bring my consistency and form into this year. And as a team, go one step further and get into the final. 

"I think we've got a squad that can do it. We've brought in the right players to do it. Got the right game plan to do it, so let's see what we can do. 

"I'm happy where I am right now. If things happen, they happen. I'm just looking forward to this year."

The Blackhawks will face Ipswich Jets first up.