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Round 18 Sunday wrap: Derby sensational in Stanthorpe

Townsville Blackhawks put plenty of points on against Western Clydesdales in Stanthorpe in the final game of Activate! Queensland Country Week.

The Blackhawks scored seven tries to the Clydesdales' two, with winger Robert Derby claiming the Hastings Deering player of the match honours for his "spectacular" form. 

Blackhawks coach Aaron Payne said the score - 44-12 - did not reflect how tough the game was.

"It was a pretty tough game," Payne said, adding there were plenty of good performances across the park.

"I thought there was plenty of good contributors. A lot of our senior blokes played really well... plenty of really good performances."

Payne said during the past six weeks the team had been able to secure nine of the 12 competition points on offer as they continued to build their game, with four regular rounds to go in season 2023.

"If you take the Cairns game out of it, where we just didn't turn up for a game of footy, we're playing some good footy," Payne said.

"We're building confidence in what we're doing and we're just a lot more consistent with what we're doing. That was just how achilles heel earlier in the year, when we just couldn't develop any consistency.

"Now we're giving ourselves much better opportunities to play in games and win games of football... just playing the game the right way.

"Probably  one work-on we've still got is we're still probably a little bit poor with our discipline, giving away penalties. It's something that we'll continue to work on."

Payne said, though, his side should take a lot of confidence out of what they had been doing on the field.

"I want the boys to be really confident and take the confidence out of, like I said, the last six weeks and, and keep moving forward," Payne said.


Powerful Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks winger Robert Derby's workhorse effort and incredible try earned him Round 18 Hastings Deering player of the match honours

Posted by Hostplus Cup on Saturday, July 15, 2023

"We still want to play finals. I know there's lots of teams still in contention that want to play finals too... it's not too late."

Payne added Activate! Queensland Country Week was always one of his favourite rounds of the year and the side loved playing in Stanthorpe.

"It was a really good, really nice atmosphere," Payne said.

"It was a good little country crowd and what's great for me is seeing a lot of young kids, who don't get an opportunity out here to rub shoulders with professional footballers or semi professional footballers and everyone got a taste of a really good standard with Cup.

"For me, that was probably the best part... to see so many kids excited to see us all, excited to see the players."

Blackhawks winger Robert Derby said the team had really gotten around each other this week and the spirit levels were high going into the game.

Derby said they brought that into their game.

"We're just trying to build for that top eight spot, coming into the finals and hopefully we can just keep building as a team and push for that spot," Derby said.

All teams have next weekend off before returning for Round 19 the weekend of July 29-30.



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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