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Kaufusi gets a hat-trick as Townsville overpower Capras

The Townsville Mendi Blackhawks have claimed back-to-back wins after putting in a dominant performance against Central Queensland Capras at Jack Manski Oval in their Round 10 clash.

The game was a back-and-forth affair for the first 10 minutes, with both teams trying to assert their dominance.

The Blackhawks were first to cross the stripe, with Corey Jensen crashing over in the 16th minute and Shaun Nona adding on the extra points.

An illegal tackle put Kyle Laybutt in the sin bin, which left the Blackhawks a player down and they were unable to keep the Capras out, with Nathan Bassani striking for the visitors in the 23rd minute. The conversion from Trey Browne levelled the scores.

The Capras soon had their own player ordered to the sin bin, with Jack Gibbons departing the field to leave both sides a man down.

During that time, centre Michael Carroll scored to push the Blackhawks back out to the lead, while Jensen was rewarded with a first half double after the team were able to split the Capras open up the middle.

However, the Capras were able to tighten the margin with a try from Jake Maizen at the close of the half, narrowing the score to 16-12 in favour of the Blackhawks at the break.

It took less than a minute for the Blackhawks to regain control in the second half, with Patrick Kaufusi scoring the first try of his hat-trick to open the try scoring.

Kalifa Faifai-Loa was next on the board, with Sam Martin-Savage following up soon after in 54th minute after Moses Meninga helped set up the opportunity by forcing a Capras error.

Another error from the Capras kept the momentum going for Kaufusi who crossed in his second in the 57th minute.

With players again put in the sin bin from both sides, the Blackhawks were unable to keep the Capras out and Caleb Tull was the man to put the first points on the board for the visitors in the second half. 

But with momentum constantly changing, Kaufusi was able to score his third try, with his hat-trick helping him claim the player of the match award for his efforts.

The Blackhawks iced a dominant performance when Carroll scored his second try and a successful conversion from Nona made the final score 48-16.

The Townsville Blackhawks celebrate a try. Photo: Kirrilly Parr / Townsville Blackhawks Media
The Townsville Blackhawks celebrate a try. Photo: Kirrilly Parr / Townsville Blackhawks Media

Coach Aaron Payne was proud of the performance his team put out for their home crowd.

“I thought we played really well, a lot of what we were trying to do we executed, and I thought as a whole were making some real steps forward as a group and building some confidence,” Payne said.

Martin-Savage was particularly grateful for his chance to play today and to celebrate the win with his family watching.

“It meant a lot, playing for my family, playing for the boys here it’s been really good,” Martin-Savage said.

The Blackhawks wore their Indigenous Round jerseys for the game, which were presented by Martin-Savage’s grandma, Dorothy and father, Sam Savage, who are of the Wulgurukaba and Bindal people.

The Blackhawks club also recognised the 25th anniversary of the Black Hawks disaster which saw 18 people lose their lives and left 12 soldiers injured.

Next week, the Townville will travel to the Sunshine Coast to take on the Falcons.

The Capras will host the Ipswich Jets.