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Blackhawks suffer tough loss at home to in-form Pride

For the Round 17 match-up, the Townsville Blackhawks took on Northern Pride for their last home game of 2022 in the XXXX Rivalry Round rematch. 

Both teams were desperate to break into the top eight with only a few rounds remaining and each side is sitting equal on 17 points. 

This game would mark the return of Blackhawks player Andrew Niemoeller to Hostplus Cup, who has spent the last 1238 days on the sideline due to injury. 

But it was the visitors that opened the scoring for the match first through Will Partridge who found space due to an overlap and was able to convert his own try. 

Pride were able to extend their lead as Nick Lui-Toso found a gap in the home team’s defence and crashed over the white stripe, but the conversion was unsuccessful. 

The Blackhawks were able to put their names on the board through a Robert Lui kick that landed in the hands of Emry Pere to put down and the kick by Zac Laybutt was successful. 

Emry Pere. Photo: Alix Sweeney/Blackhawks
Emry Pere. Photo: Alix Sweeney/Blackhawks

Pride went in into the break with the lead, the score sitting at 10-6. 

The Blackhawks came out firing in the second half with Kalifia Faifai-Loa diving in the corner to score, finishing off a backline play but the conversion was unsuccessful. 

Pride were able to hit back as Partridge scored an intercept try, running the length of the field with the opposition in pursuit to score his second try of the afternoon and the conversion was successful. 

Pride kept up their intensity with Ewan Moore reaching out over the line to score whilst stuck in a tackle and the kick was successful. 

With a block of over 20 minutes that saw no scoring, the Blackhawks showed desperate attempts to break through the Pride’s defence to initiate a comeback but were unable to find an opening to do so. 

The final score was 22-10 in favour of the away side. 

“I’m happy with the win, but I still think we are 10 to 15 per cent off our game,” Pride coach Ty Williams said.

“A win is a win and we are pretty excited but we still have a fair bit to work on.”

“We knew it was an important game, both on equal points, and the way we hung in there was good.” 

Blackhawks captain Josh Chudleigh said the team struggled to build pressure.

Kalifa Faifai-Loa. Photo: Alix Sweeney/Blackhawks
Kalifa Faifai-Loa. Photo: Alix Sweeney/Blackhawks

“We let them out of their end too easily and struggled to build pressure,” Chudleigh said.

“And that's what we needed to do especially on the back of scored points. 

“We panicked too much when we got to the try line and unfortunately it just didn’t come together for us.” 

The Blackhawks will play the PNG Hunters in Round 18.

Pride will host Tweed Seagulls at Barlow Park.


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